Frequently Asked Questions

About the Sacraments Original Font

How many Sacraments are there?
There are seven Sacraments in the Church: Holy Baptism, Holy Eucharist, Confirmation, Ordination, Matrimony, Anointing, and Confession. Link
How do I become baptized?
Baptism is administered four times per year at the parish.  Review the section on baptism, consult the Rector, and select one of the designated dates. Link
How do I have my child baptized?
Same as above.
How do I get married at Holy Comforter?
Review the section on Holy Matrimony, consult with the Rector, and select a date. Link
How do I arrange for a funeral?
Contact one of the clergy
Can I purchase a niche in the Columbarium?
Niches in the Garden Columbarium hold two urns.  The granite cover is engraved using the approved format.  The cost of each niche is $2,000.00 plus engraving cost.                
Do Episcopalians make a Confession?
All Christians are encouraged to review their lives and deeds each day and to ask for forgiveness from God and from anyone whom we may have hurt.  Confession may be private between the penitent and God.  It may also be at Holy Eucharist in the "Confession of Sin" section of the liturgy, or it may be by appointment with one of the clergy.

About the Clergy

How can I make an appointment to see one of the clergy?
The clergy are eager to assist parishioners. You may speak with the person you wish to see directly or you may call the parish office to arrange a time.  It is always wise to call ahead to make an appointment.  The clergy are frequently out of the office making pastoral calls or visitations.  In an emergency call or come anytime.
How can I arrange for the one of the clergy to call on me?
Speak directly with one of the priests or call the parish office.
How can I begin Spiritual Direction?
Select the priest with whom you wish to work, speak to them about their availability, and make the appointment with them directly.
What do call the clergy?
At Holy Comforter the clergy are listed using the official designation of "The Reverend."  Informally, the male priests are called "Father," a long standing parish tradition.  Women priest are called either "Mother" or "Pastor."  Many refer to the clergy using their first names.       
What do their titles mean?
Rector is the title of the priest who has been called to lead the parish.  All other priests or deacons by whatever title are responsible directly to the Rector.  Curates are newer priests usually beginning their ministry.  Associate Rectors are more experienced priests who assist in accomplishing our mission.  Pastoral Associates are usually part time clergy, oftentimes retired, who ably help the other clergy. 

About the Liturgy

Who can receive Holy Communion at this church?
Anyone who is baptized, who desires to receive the Real Presence of Christ into their lives and be in communion with both God and their neighbor.  Baptism is full inclusion into the Church, which is the body of Christ, and therefore children are welcome to receive.  If you are not baptized, you are invited to come to the altar rail for a blessing.
Is it safe to drink wine from a common cup?
We drink from the common cup because of the powerful symbolism that we are made one in Christ.  With renewed awareness about infectious diseases such as AIDS and SARS, there has been concern over the transmission of disease with this practice.  Studies have shown that it is safe.  However, we take the precaution of minimal handling of the bread.  If you would prefer to dip the bread in the wine(intinction), hold the bread in the palm of your hand and let the Eucharistic minister do this for you.  If you have a depleted immune system, you may take communion in one kind (bread only), which is considered "full communion."
How can I give flowers for the altar on Sunday?
Parishioners may give the flowers for the altar on Sunday in honor of or in memory of loved ones.  (Wedding Anniversary, Birthday, Anniversary of Death, Thanksgiving for the Birth of a Child) The cost is $125.00.  Please call the parish office to select your date.
What is the Prayer List? How do I add someone to the list?
The Prayer List is published each Tuesday and contains the names of all those for whom we make intercession at the daily Eucharist.  Simply call the parish office to place a name on the list.  Be sure to include the full name and the reason the person is being placed on the list.  Names remain on the list for one month.  Please call again if you wish the name to remain after one month.
Why is there a daily Eucharist?
As a Christian Community, we strongly believe our life, ministry, and day begins at the altar.  We offer thanks to God for the love in Jesus Christ in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.  Although not all parishioners are present each day, everyone knows our common life has begun at the holy altar.
What is the Public Service of Healing?
The Thursday morning Holy Eucharist (7:00 am) is a Public Service of Healing.  The Book of Occasional Services of the Episcopal Church provides an excellent liturgy to focus on the healing ministry of the church.  Each occasion includes a Laying on of Hands and an anointing with holy oil as we pray for the those who are ill and those who seek to be agents of God's healing grace.

About the Episcopal Church

What is the Episcopal Church?
The Episcopal Church is the American branch of the Anglican Communion. We are part of Christ's One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.  We are a church of the Reformation, yet we strive to remain faithful to the Catholic traditions, life, and vitality of the holy Church.                                                                                                                                   Are we Anglicans?
Yes; the Episcopal Church is one of 38 provinces around the world who are connected with one another as the Anglican Communion.What do we mean when we recite in the creed that "we believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church?" 
Is this a Catholic church? 
The Episcopal Church is ‘catholic' because it is part of the ‘universal' Church.  We understand our bishops' to have been consecrated in apostolic succession, with spiritual lineage traced back to the original apostles.  The Episcopal Church shares, with the other branches of catholic Christianity, a common core of belief and practices. But there are some aspects of the Episcopal ethos which are distinctive and which give our church its characteristic style and flavor.  Those emerged from the English Reformation.
What is a diocese?  A parish?
The Episcopal Church is divided into dioceses, regional units lead by a Bishop. Each diocese in turn is divided into parishes, local communities of faith in communion with the Bishop.
Who is the Bishop?
The Bishop is the Chief Pastor of the diocese. 
Who is the Rector?
The Rector is the pastor of the parish.

About the Parish

I have a friend I would like to invite to the parish.  What is the best way to do so?
The best method of evangelism is always a personal invitation.  Holy Comforter strives to welcome all visitors with warm hospitality.  Because of our size, and all the activity on a Sunday morning, we recognize that visiting can be intimidating.  Please introduce all visitors to one of the clergy or staff, who will assist in making other connections within the parish.
I have a suggestion to make.  How do I go about making a suggestion?
You matter to us!  It is oftentimes the interest, imagination (and energy!) of the people of the parish that help make its ministry new and invigorating.  The clergy, staff and vestry invite your input in our life together.  Please contact one of the clergy or  the person in charge of the area of your suggestion directly. 
What is All Things Bright and Beautiful?
Holy Comforter has a pre-school called All Things Bright and Beautiful.  It is an essential ministry of the parish.  Link
Do I have to be a member in order for my child to attend the preschool?
All Things Bright and Beautiful is a ministry of the Church of the Holy Comforter.  It is not a separate entity but woven into the fabric of our life.  While members of the parish are given first priority, ATB&B is open to families throughout the community who wish to have their children attend a Church-based preschool that seeks to nurture and provide for the developmentally appropriate emotional, cognitive, social and spiritual needs of the children.
What is the Church School like?
Our Church School is the principal formation experience provided to our children on Sunday morning. Link
Do we have Youth Groups?
Ministry of our Youth is central to our mission.  We are grateful to all the adult parishioners who enable the formation of our children and youth. Link

About Outreach

How much money is given outside the parish to help others?
Each year Holy Comforter makes a pledge to the Diocese of Chicago and the national Episcopal Church for the mission and outreach of each.  In addition we also dedicate our major fund raiser (House Walk) to help others.  Christmas and Easter offerings are for this same purpose.  On average we give outside our parish 20 to 25% each year for God's work in the world.
How are those funds raised?
The offering at Christmas and Easter is dedicated by the Vestry for use in our Outreach Ministry.  The net from our House Walk is also designated.  These two sources raise on average $65,000 to $75,000 each year.
How does the parish participate in helping others?
In addition to raising and disbursing funds for those in need, the parish is active in a host of hands on opportunities.  Our parishioners become directly involved in a myriad of ministries to benefit others.  Link

About Finances

What is the budget of Holy Comforter?
The budget is $1,860,000.
How is this money raised?
The vast majority of our funds is raised by the annual Everymember Canvass.  Each family of the parish is asked to prayerfully consider what they can contribute to our common life.  The Vestry is responsible for the budget.           
Do we have an Endowment Fund?
Through the generosity of parishioners the parish has a modest Endowment Fund.  The interest of this fund provides income to the annual budget and is used principally to maintain our facilities.  The Endowment Fund keeps our buildings in good order, and therefore, the current members are responsible for the ministry, mission, and life of the parish.
What is the Everymember Canvass?
Each year the Vestry occasions an Everymember Canvass.  Each family is encouraged to make a pledge to the annual budget of the parish. 
What is a Pledge Card?
A Pledge Card is issued by the Canvass Committee to provide parishioners an means by which to make a pledge.  Every participating family of the parish is asked to make a commitment to our dynamic, faithful life.
What is the average level of giving per year at the parish?
The average pledge is $3,400.00 per year.
How do parishioners fulfill their pledges?
Many parishioners pay their pledge in advance. This enables the Treasurer to invest the money and gain interest further assisting the parish. The Treasurer draws the pre pays down as needed through the year. Others pay their pledge by check in advance, monthly or weekly. Most pay by check, but some pay with stock. Please secure the proper information from the Operations Manager if you wish to pay in stock. The Vestry is grateful for all pledges.