Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions About Grace Church and about the Episcopal Church
Below are some questions newcomers and visitors often ask about Grace Church, Norwood - and the Episcopal Church in general. If your question is not answered here, please email us for a prompt response.
Q: I am a Christian, but I am not an Episcopalian. Can I receive Communion?
A: Absolutely. Jesus is the host for the sacred meal we call Holy Communion and he welcomes all his brothers and sisters to the table, regardless of their denominational background or affiliation.
Q: Can a person who is not baptized receive Communion?
A: Baptism is the principal rite of initiation into the Christian community. So baptism is generally the first step, followed by the other sacraments.
Q: How old do my children have to be to receive Communion?
A: You make that decision as a parent. Some parents want their children to receive Communion as soon as they are able to come to the altar rail and receive. Others prefer to wait until their children have received Communion instruction, which is offered in Sunday school. Children who are not yet receiving Communion may come to the altar to receive a blessing. Like adults, children should be baptized before receiving communion. If you are unsure about your own preferences in the matter, or would like to explore baptism for your child, speak with the Rector.
Q: How do I go about having my child baptized at Grace Church?
A: If you have chosen to make Grace your spiritual home, simply speak to the Rector about scheduling a date for baptism. Baptism is especially appropriate on the feast days of All Saints (the first Sunday in November), the Baptism of our Lord (the second Sunday in January), Pentecost (usually in mid-May), and at the Easter Vigil (the night before Easter Sunday). Unless you have a special family circumstance, the Rector will ask you to choose one of these days for the baptism. Click here for Baptism form.
Q: Can I get married at Grace Church?
A. Blessings on your engagement! We are glad you are seeking out a church wedding to have God part of your special day. You and your future spouse need and deserve the support of the Christian community in your married life. Thus we suggest that in seeking out a church wedding, you are also making a commitment to regular church attendance and involvement. Grace Church, in accordance with the policies of the Episcopal Church in Massachusetts, is inclusive in offering the Sacrament of Marriage to couples, regardless of gender.
To prepare for your wedding, the Rector will meet with you three or four times to discuss Christian marriage, your relationship, and to plan your service. Click here for more information and forms.
Q. I’m divorced and would like to get remarried. Can I do that at Grace Church?
A. Yes. The Episcopal Church recognizes that some marriages die and that some may choose to be remarried. For couples who have been married before, there is an application that should be started several months before the wedding date. It is not at all a difficult process, there is no cost, and it can be very beneficial to couples, but there does need to be some advance planning. Click here for more information.
Q: I've been divorced and remarried. Can I receive Communion?
A: Of course you can. The Episcopal Church recognizes that some marriages die. The Church mourns with you, but welcomes you to Communion as part of your healing and growth.
Q: How do I become a member of Grace Church?
A: Just come to our Church services regularly and participate in the activities we have to offer. When you feel ready, you may ask for your membership to be transferred (if you have come to us from another Episcopal Church). You may also want to consider being Confirmed or Received into the Episcopal Church. Whether or not your membership is formally recorded with us, you are invited to participate in all aspects of our parish life.
Q: What is the difference between the Episcopal Church and the Roman Catholic Church? The Episcopal service seems very similar to the Roman Catholic Mass.
A: They are similar. Some parts, in fact, are identical. However, we are part of the worldwide Anglican Communion - the group of Churches whose traditions and history are in accord with the Church of England. We have some doctrinal differences with the Roman Church. But in many ways our basic structure, order, liturgy and spiritual life are indeed very similar to the Roman Catholic Church.
Q: Then, is the Episcopal Church Protestant or Catholic?
A: The Episcopal Church is, in a sense, both Protestant and Catholic. Our history sets us apart from the Roman Church in that we are the result of a thorough-going reform movement that spread across Europe, beginning in the 16th century. Our traditions and liturgy, however, are mostly more ancient than those of most Protestant churches. An excellent way to put a label on the Episcopal Church is to think of us as the bridge church between the two great traditions, practicing what we believe to be the best of both.
Q: How is Grace Church governed?
A: Grace Church is incorporated as part of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, which consists of 200 parishes in eastern Massachusetts. The members of each Episcopal parish elect a group of lay persons to the Vestry, which is like a Board of Directors. The Vestry controls the operation and finances of the parish and makes the day-to-day decisions needed to carry on the mission of the congregation. The Rector is elected by the Vestry and, as the pastor and priest, has authority over the worship and spiritual life of the congregation. Each January, an annual meeting is held to elect the Vestry and hear reports on the operation of the church in the past year. Occasionally, major decisions that go beyond the scope of the Vestry's responsibility are also made at this meeting. It is open to all members, 16 years of age or older, who are worshippers and contributors of record.
Click here to learn more about the Episcopal Church