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Bishop’s Note – Faith of the Community

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Baptism is the sacrament of Christ that makes one a Christian. Last week, I spoke of the importance of the individual’s confession of faith in Christ Jesus. However, we are not Christians on our own but in community. This, of course, runs contrary to our independent spirit in the United States. “It’s all about me and Jesus” is a phrase I’ve heard more than once in my ministry. In reality it’s about Jesus and me and the community, which is the Church, the bride of Christ! We cannot be Christians on our own and for that reason the bishop or priest asks the congregation:

The Celebrant then addresses the Congregation, first inviting them to stand.

Will you who witness these vows do all in your power to support these persons in their life in Christ?

The Congregation responds
We will.

These are not hollow words. We need to love one another as Christians sufficiently enough to support one another in our walk with Christ, and that includes holding one another accountable when we are in error.

In addition, as Christians ours is a shared faith. Sometimes when our faith is weak it is the faith of the collective church that lifts us up and even corrects us. For this reason, after promising to support the newly baptized in their walk with Christ, we together with the candidates profess our faith as put forth in the Apostles’ Creed. That third century statement of faith unified the church and continues to unify us to the saints past and present.

The Celebrant then says:
Let us join with these Candidates to proclaim our faith in the words of the ancient baptismal confession, the Apostles’ Creed.
Celebrant Do you believe and trust in God the Father?
People I do.
I believe in God the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
Celebrant Do you believe and trust in Jesus Christ?
People I do.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

Celebrant Do you believe and trust in the Holy Spirit?
People I do.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

I pray you all a truly blessed week!

Bishop Menees

San Joaquin Anglican
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Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin · 1300 East Shaw Avenue #123 · Fresno, CA 93710 · USA

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