“Holy Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body, the Church” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 298).
In the waters of Baptism we are reminded that we belong to God and nothing can separate us from the love of God. Infants, children, adolescents, and adults are invited to be baptized at St. Gabriel's! The bond which God establishes in Baptism is indissoluble, so baptism is only administered once, regardless of the Christian church or denomination where it took place. When you choose to be baptized or have your child baptized in the Episcopal Church, it means you are choosing to live out the Baptismal Covenant in the context of an Episcopal church community, taking your part in the worship, mission and ministries of the local parish.
Interested in the sacrament of Baptism? We invite you to attend church regularly and talk to the clergy about baptism. For infant baptisms the parent(s) or caregiver(s) are invited to meet with the clergy. If the candidate for baptism is over the age of five the church provides age-appropriate baptismal catechism. Baptism is regarded as the beginning of a spiritual path and not the culmination of one.
Confirmation and Reception
The sacramental rite of Confirmation is defined in the Book of Common Prayer as "a mature and public affirmation of faith and commitment to the responsibilities of Baptism." At Confirmation, an individual receives the laying on of hands and blessing of a bishop, thereby affirming their own faith and visibly connecting to the broader Body of Christ. The sacramental nature of Confirmation is a personal choice and affirmation to continue growing in faith and in relationship with God. Instruction classes for teenagers age 15 and older and for adults are provided.
The rite of Reception is for anyone who has been confirmed in another Christian denomination (Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc.) and wants to become an Episcopalian. Baptized persons who have been confirmed are invited to be received into the Episcopal Church.
These sacramental rites are performed during the annual Bishop's Visitation. Call the parish office for the upcoming visitation date.
Holy Matrimony and The Blessing of a Union
Holy Matrimony and Holy Unions are solemn and public covenants between two people who love one another and wish to have their union blessed before God and the community. Weddings take place at St. Gabriel's in the Belmont Ridge Middle School, at St. James - our mother church in historic Leesburg, and occasionally at other venues. Same-sex blessings are authorized by The Episcopal Church and celebrated by the faith community of St. Gabriel's. We believe that the covenant between two people in love who wish to be married or have their civil marriage blessed requires prayerful preparation and the support of their faith community. Thus, we require couples to participate in a series of pre-marriage conversations with a priest, and we encourage their participation in the life of the parish. For more information please contact the parish office (703-779-3616).