Sacraments are special ministries given to the church to convey the grace of Jesus Christ to not just his followers but to all God’s children whom Christ yearns to touch with his compassion. Through the sacraments, God sanctifies common elements of creation to bless human life and to renew and form the church to seek the peaceful kingdom of God. There are eight sacraments in Community of Christ:
- Communion (Lord’s Supper)
- Laying on of Hands for the Sick
- Blessing of Children
- Evangelist Blessing
Baptism is a personal expression of faith in Jesus Christ. This is how we first express our commitment to lifelong discipleship. In Community of Christ, elders and priests perform this sacrament by immersing the person in water. Other Christian denominations also immerse, and some may baptize by a different method, such as sprinkling or pouring. Baptism is for those who are old enough to decide for themselves to follow Christ (8 and older). This is sometimes called “believer’s baptism.” Community of Christ baptisms are done “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
Community of Christ recognizes previous believers’ baptisms of water for people who wish to continue their discipleship as members of Community of Christ.
Following baptism of water, whether performed by Community of Christ priesthood or other Christian ministers, those who wish to express their discipleship as members of Community of Christ, do so through the sacrament of confirmation. Time is taken to prepare disciples for this sacrament and their lifelong discipleship as church members. The sacrament of confirmation recognizes the work of the Holy Spirit in the disciple’s life. Elders of the church place their hands on the head of the person to be confirmed. They pray for God’s blessing to help them grow in their covenant. All disciples are called to generously share their giftedness and resources in support of the church’s mission to proclaim Jesus Christ and promote communities of joy, hope, love, and peace.
Communion (Lord’s Supper)
Community of Christ congregations worldwide, celebrate Communion regularly. Communion is sometimes called “the Lord’s Supper.” In Communion, we typically use bread and grape juice as emblems of Jesus’ body and blood. As we recall his suffering, death, and resurrection, we recommit ourselves to following him. Community of Christ practices open Communion. This means we welcome all who believe in Christ to share the Lord’s Supper with us, whether they are members of our denomination or not.
Laying on of Hands for the Sick
Any who are sick or face spiritual challenges may ask for this special prayer of blessing. This sacrament opens the door to the gift of healing. Ministers anoint the head of the person with olive oil (see James 5:13–15) and pray for God’s grace and blessing.
The sacrament of marriage celebrates a couple’s decision to be each other’s companion for life. In Community of Christ, marriage is much more than a legal arrangement. The couple pledges to live in mutual love that seeks to make real the love and compassion of Christ. Community of Christ ministers can perform this sacrament for anyone, regardless of membership, as long as local laws governing marriage are followed. (See Doctrine and Covenants 111).
Blessing of Children
Following the example of Jesus, parents bring their little children to the elders of the church for a prayer of blessing. In this sacrament, the elders lay hands on the child and ask for God’s presence and guidance for both the child and parents. This sacrament is usually celebrated in a regular worship service and is available to all regardless of membership.
Every disciple is called to be a minister, but some are called and ordained to particular priesthood responsibilities and ministries for the sake of the community, the congregation, and the world. Ordination confers priesthood office and authority on women and men who are called and have prepared for ordination.
The evangelist blessing is a sacrament that provides a person sacred time and space for an evangelist to offer a special prayer of blessing. In Community of Christ, an evangelist is a special minister of blessing. When the time comes for the blessing, the evangelist places hands on the head of the person and offers a special prayer of blessing to give hope, assurance, and insights. The evangelist gives the recipient a printed copy of the prayer to refer to throughout one’s life. The sacrament of the evangelist blessing is available to members and friends of the church above the age of accountability (8 and older).