Pastoral Ministry and Spiritual Care

The following are important pastoral acts and spiritual care that St. Paul provides for its members. Contact Pastor Biles for more information.

Baptisms

In Holy Baptism God makes us members of the Church, which is the Body of Christ in the world. By our Baptism into the death and resurrection of Jesus, we are saved from bondage to sin, death, and evil and freed for life with God and his people in the power of the Holy Spirit. Baptisms at St. Paul occur under these guidelines:

All baptisms, except in cases of emergency, occur within the worship services of the congregation.

Because Baptism is initiation into discipleship of Jesus and the life of the Church, all persons desiring baptism should commit themselves to the “five fundamentals” of church membership: regular participation in worship, involvement in a program of Christian education, personal prayer & study in the home, service in the church, and a discipline of offering of one’s wealth.

Candidates for baptism must fulfill a program of instruction appropriate to their level of understanding of the Christian faith.

For parents who wish to have their children baptized: At least one parent must be an active member of the church.

Weddings

St. Paul Church believes that the marriage of a man and a woman is a holy estate, ordained of God, and should be held in honor by all. The basic policies for weddings at St. Paul are:

A man and woman seeking to marry at St. Paul Church shall communicate this desire to the Pastor as soon as possible after their engagement, preferably at least six months before the wedding, to reserve the date and arrange for proper planning of the wedding.

Under normal circumstances, it is expected that couples will regularly attend worship. Under certain conditions, Pastor may perform weddings for non-members.

All couples desiring to marry must complete a program of marital preparation, which examines the couples’ relationship and plans for their marriage, the nature of Christian marriage, and plans the wedding service.

Wedding dates and rehearsals are on a first-come, first-served basis.

A Lutheran order of worship will be used, and vows must reflect a Christian understanding of marriage. Within these two guidelines, there is flexibility for the couple to have their own personal wishes for their service.

St. Paul’s organist will perform music at all wedding services; exceptions to this rule are at the discretion of the organist. Music will be selected by the couple in consultation with the organist, and should be appropriate to a service of divine worship.

Other St. Paul policies for weddings are explained to the couple in their first premarital sessions with the Pastor.

Click here to view St Paul’s Wedding Policy.

Private Confession And Private Communion

Private confession and absolution is for people who are especially troubled by their sins and desire in a personal way to hear the word of God’s forgiveness. Private communion is for those who are in the hospital or who are confined at home or a nursing care facility and cannot make worship. Persons desiring either of these pastoral acts can arrange for them by contacting the church office or Pastor Biles personally. Pastor Biles visits homebound members with communion at least four times a year (March, June, September, and December). Lay servers visit homebound members at least twice a year, between the visits of the pastor.

Pastoral Calling

Pastor Biles desires to visit every member of St. Paul’s who may be hospitalized. Please let the church office or Pastor Biles know this before you enter the hospital, or as soon as possible afterwards. Do not expect that the hospital will do it for you. If you desire private communion while you are in the hospital, please communicate this to Pastor Biles as well. If you desire a visit by Pastor Biles in your home or place of work, or over a lunch hour, please contact him to arrange this. We also have a group of Parish Visitors who assist Pr. Biles in visits to members in the hospital, at home, and private communion.

Counseling

Pastor Biles is available for general, short-term or crisis counseling. Counseling sessions are scheduled by appointment. Longer-term or cases requiring specialized counselors are referred to various persons or agencies in the area. In addition, through Lutheran Social Services there is a Lutheran Counseling Service, which is located at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Hanover, Pa. 637-8904.

Funerals

At the time of death, the Pastor should be contacted as soon as possible to begin the process of planning the funeral and to provide pastoral care during this time of suffering. We encourage funerals for church members to take place in the church. For non-members, Pastor Biles is available to do funerals at a funeral home. Funerals may also be planned in advance with the church and your funeral director.