What is the difference?
Baptism is a rite of belonging in which we enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ and the Church. Confirmation is how we make a mature affirmation of the commitment made at our baptism to be part of the Church. For those who have been confirmed in other denominations, Reception is the mark of one’s desire to be part of the Episcopal Church.
At Saint Mark’s, we baptize people of all ages, offering classes to meet the varying needs of those seeking the rite. We understand baptism, along with the Eucharist, to be one of the two major sacraments—that is, ritual actions that convey God’s grace in a special and powerful way.
Baptisms in the Episcopal Church occur on or near four feast days with a particular association with baptism: All Saints Sunday in November, the Baptism of Jesus in January, Easter Vigil (on Easter Eve) in the spring, and Pentecost Sunday in late spring/early summer. During the closure of the building due to the pandemic Baptisms have become somewhat more complicated
2023/24 Baptism Dates
- Sunday, November 5, 2023 - All Saints' Sunday
- Sunday, January 7, 2024 - The Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord
- Saturday, March 30, 2024 - The Great Vigil of Easter (service at 8:30 p.m.)
- Sunday, May 19, 2024 - The Feast of Pentecost*
- Sunday, November 3, 2024 - All Saints' Sunday
Baptismal Preparation Class and Rehearsals
Designed specifically for baptismal candidates and their sponsors. Prior to the class, candidates and their families meet with clergy to learn about this rite of initiation into the Christian faith. The day before the baptismal liturgy, typically 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, the baptismal candidates and their sponsors get together to meet one another and to learn more about this ancient practice. Time is set aside to ask questions and to walk through the baptismal liturgy.
*Note: Due to a conflict in the nave, the class and rehearsal for Baptisms on Pentecost, May 19, 2024, will not occur on Saturday May 18 as usual. An alternative date and time will be announced.
Saint Mark's offers two different class offerings to prepare for Baptism. The Inquirers’ Class series is a first step for those who are curious to learn more about Saint Mark’s and The Episcopal Church. Contours of the Christian Life builds on that foundation and provides an opportunity to continue the journey by going deeper into questions of faith. The approach of Contours of the Christian Life is inspired by ancient patterns of Christian formation going back to the early church. We encourage participation in both series if you are interested in further preparation for baptism, confirmation and reception.
Canon Wendy Claire Barrie, email@example.com, Canon for Intergenerational Ministries, with any questions, and to arrange a meeting with clergy (required).
When you are ready to move forward with the process, please complete the Baptismal Registration Form here.
Adult Confirmation, Reception to the Anglican Communion, or Reaffirmation of Baptismal Vows
Confirmation is the rite in which we express a mature commitment to Christ by a solemn, public reaffirmation of our Baptismal promises, and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop. The rite of Reception is similar, for those Baptized adults coming to the Episcopal Church from another Christian communion. For a variety of reasons, people may discover a need several times in their life to perform a public Reaffirmation of Baptismal Vows, in the presence of the Bishop and with laying on of hands. All three rites are offered at the cathedral on Cathedral Day. There are two class offerings to prepare for these rites, including a four week series, The Inquirers' Class and a seven week series, Contours of the Christian Life.
Teenagers, ages 13–18, who desire to dig deeper into the church and their own beliefs are invited into the year-long process of preparation for youth confirmation. You don't need to be sure that you want to be confirmed to take this class. Asking those questions is the work we do together. The confirmation class is currently underway; learn more here. For more information, email Rebekah Gilmore, Interim Director of Youth Ministry: firstname.lastname@example.org
When you are ready to move forward with the process, please complete the Confirmation/Reception/Reaffirmation form here.
Being a Sponsor
The role of Godparent, Baptismal Sponsor, or Confirmation Sponsor is an important part of the rites of initiation, and serving in this role can be a meaningful and moving experience for the sponsors themselves. Godparents/Sponsors serve as "spiritual companions" during the period of preparation, and then pledge to uphold the candidate in their life of faith going forward. To learn more about what this special role entails, please check out the forum video below:
The Cathedral Baptismal Font
by Julie Speidel
Acclaimed Northwest sculptor Julie Speidel has created a Baptismal Font for Saint Mark’s, in white Vermont marble and patinated bronze, which responds to the unique qualities of space and materials in the cathedral nave. Speidel’s sculptures engage an array of cultural influences, reaching back through antiquity to the stone- and bronze-age peoples of Europe, the early Buddhists of China, the indigenous tribes of her native Pacific Northwest, and on into twentieth-century modernism. The artist's design for Saint Mark’s Baptismal Font was influenced by the cathedral’s own architectural elements, incorporating reflections of its rose window, a patina mirroring the Flentrop organ pipes, and geometry mirroring its arched windows. The sculpture was also inspired by the artist’s school-age experiences in and around the cathedrals of England, including a chance encounter with the Archbishop of Canterbury.