Confession: The Sacrament of Reconciliation
Episcopalians approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation or Private Confession understanding that "neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8) That includes our sin. Sin separates us from God, but not God from us. Sin clouds the fact that God's love for us is absolute and with no strings attached.
Therefore, the ministry of reconciliation has been committed by Christ to his Church, exercised through the care each Christian has for others, through the common prayer of Christians assembled for public worship, and through the priesthood of the Church and its ministers declaring absolution.
The Reconciliation of a Penitent, or private Confession, is available for all who desire it and for whom the Prayer of Confession offered at Mass doesn't seem to be enoug. The Sacrament is not restricted to times of sickness. Confessions may be heard anytime and anywhere. For Episcopalians, Confession is not mandatory. However, the old adage is that "all may, none must, some should."
You don't have to know what to do when you come to make your confession. There is a service in The Book of Common Prayer that assists you and the confessor (priest) in celebrating the Sacrament. After you have made your confession, the confessor may offer some counsel and advice and may also impose a "penance," which is an act of thanksgiving to God for God's graciousness and love. The penance is not a price to be paid to God for forgiveness. Forgiveness is FREE! and probably given even before we have asked for it.
The content of a confession is not normally a matter of subsequent discussion. In other words, after your confession, your confessor won't bug you about what you've confessed. In addition, the confessor is morally obligated to tell absolutely no one the content of your confession or that you've even BEEN to confession. Your confessor takes that information to the grave. (Actually, good confessors are experts at forgetting the contents of confessions since in reality they are interactions not between the confessor and the penitent but between the penitent and God.)
At St. Clement's Church, Confessions are heard by appointment. Either of our Priests is available to celebrate the Sacrament with you. You may either email one of them or call/email the Parish Office to set the appointment.
For more information on confession please read: Private Sacramental Confession
P: (206) 324-3072
Fr. Kevin Smith
Fr. Tom Bigelow