In the Episcopal Church, we believe that God is with us even before we are born and is there with us at every step of life. In our Book of Common Prayer there are prayers and services for significant and seemingly small aspects of living and dying. Just like we see in the Bible, there are prayers for pregnant women, children yet to be born, thanksgivings at birth, laments for sickness and prayers for healing. We have services for asking God to bless new homes or apartments. There are prayers for our nation, our government, our military, and for leaders of all nations to bring about peace. You name it, there is sure to be a prayer someone in the Episcopal Church has written to help us think through our life and God's ever-present help and involvement.
Particularly significant are worship services for our most vital times of life. At birth, our clergy (upon notice and request) love to come to the hospital and pray for a safe delivery and then return to anoint and pray thanksgivings for the newest gift of life from God. Typically parents will want their young baby or child baptized and will prepare for that with one of our clergy. We have the service of baptism as part of our regular worship services. Confirmation is a sacramental action on the part of adults who with to "confirm" or re-affirm the baptismal promises that were made for them as infants or young children.
New homes are prayed for with the sprinkling of holy water to make them ready for new life. When members have surgeries or illnesses, prayers and anointing are appropriate. Clergy hope members remember to tell them in advance of hospital stays so our clergy and lay members can come for prayers and visits as desired.
As this earthly life draws to an end, members of the church invite their clergy to come and say prayers and when possible to anoint with oil for healing and sometimes "Last Rites" - prayers for end of life which often include members of the family. Funeral services at the church or graveside or in a variety of appropriate locations are spelled out in the prayer book and our clergy are with the family and friends as they grieve the loss of life -- while giving thanks to God for the blessings known here and anticipated for life eternal.