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Q. How can I participate in the activities at the Church of our Redeemer?
A. Everyone is welcome to attend all services, events and classes. There are many ways to become involved, either one-time only or on-going volunteer opportunities. A one-time only opportunity may involve participating in Spring Clean-up, helping prepare a meal for Bristol Lodge, or biking in the bike-a-thon for El Hogar. An on-going opportunity may be joining the Choir to share your musical gifts with the congregation, or joining the Mission Team to help plan how the Redeemer community can make a difference in the lives of others. Consult the church newsletter, Redeeming Features for a list of participation opportunities. If you would like additional information call or email the office , or visit the Welcoming Table in the Vestibule on Sunday.
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 our Christian Formation classes. Children who are not yet receiving Communion may come to the altar to receive a blessing. If you are unsure about your own preferences in the matter, or would like to explore baptism for your child, speak with the clergy.
Q. Is childcare available? Or are children welcome in worship?
A. Both! A nursery is available for infants through age 4 Sunday mornings between 9:00 and 12:00, except during July and August. This allows parents to participate in adult education as well as worship. The nursery caregivers organize age appropriate activities and crafts and use the current pre-school classroom space. Please ask a Liturgy Team member who greets you at the door to show you the nursery or follow the signs on the ground floor.
Children of all ages are also enthusiastically welcome in worship. There is a children’s corner in the back of the church with coloring books, crayons, space to move around, and a rocking chair for nursing mothers. We enjoy the liveliness that children add to our Sunday worship.
Q. Is the Church of our Redeemer handicap accessible?
A. An elevator is located at the front, left side of the church, near the handicap parking spaces in the driveway. The elevator accesses the Great Hall (lowest level), ground level (parking) and Narthex (church level entry) for accessibility to the church. In the nave, approximately 5 pews from the front on the right side there is space for wheelchairs. Additionally, hearing devices are located on the table in the Narthex. These hearing implements are checked regularly and provide direct audio from the clergys’ microphones. Lastly, an abridged version of the Book of Common Prayer in large print and large print bulletins are located on the table in the Narthex to the right of the door entering the church.
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 Redeemer?
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. You can learn more at this link or pick up the brochure “The Episcopal Church for Roman Catholics” at Redeemer.
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 the Church of Our Redeemer governed?
A: Redeemer 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 (not the clergy or Bishop) 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 worshipers and contributors of record. The Annual Meeting also elects lay representatives to our Diocesan Convention who in turn elect our Bishops and are part of the governance of our Diocese.
Q. Is pledging required?
A. All Christians are called, but none are required to contribute a portion of their time, talent and treasure toward the work of the church. The easiest way to give is to become involved with one of our specific ministries and make a financial pledge. Pledging enables the congregation to plan its ministries in advance; it provides a stable financial base for the support of our programs, and it reflects our prayerful response to God’s call to be good stewards of our material resources. The size of the pledge is less important than your willingness to commit a definite amount towards the support of God’s work through this congregation. Some parishioners are not comfortable with pledging and yet are regular supporters of our ministry.