We offer three types of religious ceremonies at Church of the Good Shepherd, the Sacrament of Baptism for infants, children, and adults, Wedding Ceremonies for couples and same-sex couples, and Celebration of Life Memorial Services.
Sacrament of Baptism
Through the sacrament of baptism, a person is incorporated into the universal church, the body of Christ. The water, words, and actions of the sacrament are outward and visible signs of God’s grace.
In the United Church of Christ, people are baptized either as children or adults. Baptism with water and the Holy Spirit is the mark of a person’s acceptance into the care of Christ’s church, the sign. and seal of their participation in God’s forgiveness, and the beginning of their new growth into full Christian faith and life.
When an infant or young child is baptized, one or both parents and/or one or more sponsors promise to assume certain responsibilities for the Christian nurture of the baptized child. Those who are baptized at an early age are given an opportunity in their youth to make a personal profession of faith through Confirmation. Church of the Good Shepherd offers Confirmation Classes for students in grades 9 and above.
Baptism is not only a personal celebration in the lives of the individual candidates and their families but also a central celebration in the life of the local church, which embodies the universal church in a particular place. For this reason, baptism takes place in the presence of the community of faith gathered for worship. When urgent circumstances make it necessary to undertake baptism apart from the worshiping congregation, leaders of the local church participate in the ceremony with our pastor.
Church of the Good Shepherd has been celebrating marriages for decades, including weddings for same-sex couples, and we would be honored to celebrate your special day with you and with God!
We recognize that each couple is unique, and we encourage you to work with our pastor to customize your ceremony. Pre-Marital Counseling is available (and encouraged) for couples getting married at Church of the Good Shepherd. Exceptions are sometimes made for couples getting legally married after many years of partnership.
We have several spaces for weddings, including a small parlor, a spacious sanctuary with views of the Sandia Mountains, a Native-American-style kiva, and an outdoor courtyard. Two wedding reception spaces, the Hospitality Room and Fellowship Hall, are also available.
Celebration of Life
Memorial Services at Church of the Good Shepherd incorporate remembering and celebrating the life of the person who has died. This is done through a eulogy or time of remembrance by the family, friends, or the pastor. A homily (message) is also given by the pastor to speak of our faith in God’s great love and grace. The pastor will give a prayer to commend the loved one to God’s care. Families are invited to bring photos and mementos to display.
Music is often an important help in the service. Hymns may be included in the service along with special music selections by a member or members of our choir. The family is invited to make selections of their choice.
Frequently, a Reception is held after the service as a time for the family to meet guests. You may arrange for us to provide cookies, punch, and or coffee members, or you may furnish meal-time food. We have a full kitchen on the lower level of the church for meal preparation if required.