Parkwoods United Church

Parkwoods United Church is about many things, but essentially, it is about its people and what they do for the Glory of God. There is always that sense of “family”, with outreach in the local community and beyond. Many of the activities and services revolve around this outreach. There is a sense that Parkwood’s people work together, each person using his or her talents to contribute to this sense of mission.

Join us every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. for our Sunday Worship Service with our Pastor, Rev. Dr. Randy Naylor.

Baptism at Parkwoods

Baptism is one of two sacraments celebrated in the United Church. The other, Communion, is also known as the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist. Both sacraments are, for the United Church, two ways in which we symbolize the visible presence of the Holy Spirit in our community life. They are also actions intimately linked with Jesus who was baptized and later in life celebrated the Passover with his disciples. The breaking of bread and sharing of wine at Passover became, for Christians, the second sacrament, Holy Communion. So what is baptism?

Baptism is a symbolic action that signifies the new life God gives us as we join the church community. It celebrates God’s initiative and our response. It is God’s “Yes” to us, and our “yes” to God. We understand this to be a Divine-human covenant.

Baptism uses water as a symbolic cleansing that signifies the acceptance of new life within the church family. The sacrament of baptism is the single rite of initiation into the Christian community, the church. As initiation into the Church, the Body of Christ, it is an act of welcoming, blessing and belonging.

The United Church offers baptism to all ages. We believe the gift of God’s love doesn’t depend on our ability to understand it, so we baptize people as infants right up through adulthood.

With children, instruction is given to parents or sponsors to equip them for the child’s Christian nurture. During the ceremony, everyone in the congregation pledges support for the child and his or her parents.

Baptism is not a requirement for God’s love. We believe people who die without baptism are in no way condemned, lost, or damned.

Baptism in the United Church is recognized by all denominations of the Christian church that practice infant baptism. Similarly, if people have already been baptized in another church, the United Church recognizes their baptism and welcomes them as Christians.

At Parkwoods baptism is celebrated during Sunday morning worship throughout the year. Whenever possible we accommodate the needs of those being baptized to ensure that family members and friends might also be present for the baptism. Speak with our minister as far in advance as possible. The minister will also meet with the parents of children to be baptized, as well as any adults to be baptized, at a time convenient to all involved but well ahead of the date of the baptism.

As a sacrament of the Church there is no fee charged for baptism.

CONFIRMATION

The large majority of people in the United Church were baptised as infants or children even though we do baptise people of all ages and at all stages of life. Baptism is the rite that welcomes people into the membership of the world-wide fellowship of the Church through the actions of a local congregation. Infants and children are ‘sponsored’ by their parents, sometimes a member of the congregation and always the whole congregation.

At some point in their lives the baptised usually decide that they would like to ‘confirm’ the decision made on their behalf when they were an infant or child. Parkwoods holds confirmation classes every few years so that young adults might learn something of their faith and make their own decision to confirm the faith in Jesus Christ and membership in the Christian Church.

Typically at Parkwoods, these membership classes are for people 14 years of age and older. The classes take place over many months and are a mix of formal teaching as well as attending a movie together and discussing its significance from a Christian perspective. If possible the candidates take part in a weekend youth retreat organized by either the Presbytery or Conference as well. Each candidate for confirmation is also expected to write their own statement of faith based on an outline provided for them. This is an opportunity to personalize their class experience and may even have the candidate writing about their favourite song, poem, play, etc.

Once the candidates have completed their preparation they are known as ‘confirmands’ and they are ‘confirmed’ on Easter Sunday. With their confirmation they are considered fully members in their own right and have all the privileges and responsibilities as any other member of the congregation.

Adults may also choose to prepare for confirmation as well.

Please contact the minister if you are interested in confirming your membership in Parkwoods United Church.

Funerals

Funerals at Parkwoods are guided by the principal that the death of a loved one is a time to recall the miracle of life, to give thanks for the life of the deceased, and to mourn the loss. The Bible reflects many emotional responses to the reality of grief, including anger, denial, guilt, lament, resignation, thanksgiving, and trust.

The service may be called “Funeral,” “Memorial Service,” or “Service of Remembrance and Celebration.” Generally if a casket is present we use “Funeral” otherwise we use “Memorial”. The service may be held at Parkwoods or in a funeral home. The ministers are Parkwoods offer pastoral care, time with the family to plan the service and lead the sevice. Pastoral care following the day of the service is available upon request.

Meeting with one of our ministers, the family will be invited to suggest hymns, Bible readings, even poems and stories that were significant to the deceased. Together the minister and the family will use this information to prepare the service. Although all services are led by one of our ministers, family and friends are encouraged to participate in the service. If the service is held at Parkwoods one of our organists will play for the service. Additional music and musical instruments are welcome.

Services held in funeral homes will have a fee structure established by the individual funeral home. The funeral home generally looks after the payment of honoraria to the minister. Funerals and Memorial Services held at Parkwoods are considered part of the ministers’ pastoral care to the congregation and community. For information on the current fee schedule, please contact the Church Office.

Weddings

In the United Church we see people as unique, loved creations of God and welcome all people to the full life of Christian community, including marriage. We believe God intends loving relationships to be faithful, responsible, just, healing, and sustaining of the couple and those around them, and that such relationships require preparation and nurture.

The United Church celebrates the marriage of:

  •  same-sex couples
  • previously divorced people
  • couples of different religions
  • all people who believe in Jesus Christ and want to live faithful to his way.

Weddings at Parkwoods are conducted by one of our ministers who are licensed by the Government of Ontario to solemnize marriage. Family members or friends of those to be married are welcome to participate in the wedding ceremony as well.

Couples are required to meet with the Minister several times prior to the service in order to plan a wedding that is fitting to their interests and appropriate to the occasion. Couples must also, at additional cost, participate in a marriage preparation course as recommended by the Minister.

Parkwoods has qualified organists who will play for each wedding. The Church Office also assists in the many details of planning and presenting the wedding ceremony.

The all-inclusive fee for weddings at Parkwoods is $900.00 (includes church, minister, music, custodian and office).

*Fees are payable to the Church Office two weeks prior to the wedding date.

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