ECC SACRAMENTAL LIFE
The ECC acknowledges that we are people who experience life through our senses: our sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. The moments that we know in our heart are special are often sensory: the gentle, reassuring touch of another; the warm, secure embrace of a child by a parent; the taste of our favorite food; hearing a loved one call our name.
God created us this way! And, God knows us and loves us this way.
So it only makes sense that God would express God's presence and love this way.
God comes to us through our senses, in ordinary incarnational ways.
Therefore, the church, in our very nature, is sacramental; and, an essential part of the work
of the church is our sacramental ministry.
The ECC regards the sacraments as special experiences of God's presence and love, alive and active in our midst. God's presence and love are given freely, and abundantly, by God to all who will receive them. God is certainly not limited to expressing God's love and grace through only these sacramental experiences! Yet, our tradition holds, and our personal experience affirms, that these are special experiences of God's presence, love and grace.
The evidence from scripture, and early church history, is that Jesus' mission and ministry welcomed all. He did not exclude anyone; in fact, he reached out to the poor, the sick,
the marginalized and the outcast.
He practiced what has been referred to as 'table fellowship', frequently sharing meals
with the impure, the alienated and the disenfranchised. As Jesus stated:
"those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words,
'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."
(Matthew 9: 12-13)
We do our best at St. Clare, and within the ECC, to follow the modeling and the teaching of Jesus. We do not withhold the sacraments from anyone based on their denominational preference,
faith tradition, or personal behavior. If you attend and participate in a wedding or funeral
at an ECC community, for example, you will be invited to and welcomed at the communion table! The ECC believes that the sacraments are God's gift, given freely to all.
Jesus is the host of the Eucharistic celebration. As Jesus welcomed all,
we believe that all are welcome to the table of the Lord!
We celebrate the seven sacraments that have long been celebrated in the catholic tradition:
Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Marriage, Ordination and Anointing.
Of particular note:
Eucharist is open to all who come forward to receive. There are no membership requirements, tests of faith or moral standing.
Marriage is affirmed for couples (whether heterosexual or same gendered) who seek recognition and blessing of their union. In jurisdictions where marriage is legal for same gendered couples, we joyfully celebrate legal marriage rituals.
In Jurisdictions where the right is not yet recognized, we joyfully celebrate blessing rituals for same gendered couples.
Reconcilliation and Anointing are available to all who request them.
Ordination: individuals are called into service of the community by the community, without regard to gender, sexual orientation or marital status. The ECC celebrates diversity in ministry, and in life.