From the Rector
From the Rector
Our community of faith, St. Paul’s within the walls Episcopal Church, seeks to:
- Serve as a center of spiritual transformation where all are invited to encounter the radical love of Christ
- Connect persons at various stages of faith with opportunities for action, formation and development
- Proclaim this love in thought, word and deed; through outstanding music, art and architecture; evangelism; ecumenism; the JNRC refugee center, and through worship that draws us into the divine life and sends us forth to love and serve Christ in the world.
We invite you to come and join us on this journey. You do not have to be perfect (we aren’t), you do not have to know a secret handshake, and it’s ok if you’ve never set foot inside a church in your life, nor know how to pronounce the word Episcopal (ɪˈpɪskəp(ə)l). Or maybe you’re a cradle Episcopalian, have served on a vestry in your hometown, and can name your favorite hymns from the Hymnal 1982. Regardless, St. Paul’s wants to share in this transformative journey with you. All you need is a desire to find out more about this radical love of Christ, and the journey will begin.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced 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 8:37-39).
St. Paul wrote these words to followers of “the way” located in Rome, the heart and nerve center of a far-reaching empire, which stretched across the Mediterranean and beyond. Once a radical persecutor of those who followed in the steps of Jesus of Nazareth, proclaiming him as the Christ, Paul soon became one of “the way’s” greatest advocates. Paul was transformed by the love of God he experienced in Christ Jesus, and wanted others to experience the freedom he knew through that grace.
We who gather in this same city 2000 years later, share in this same desire and mission which helped deliver this faith across generations, and which has been in constant development here in the Eternal City.
Come and join us in transformation! Whether a visitor to Rome, or a resident looking to join a vibrant, multi-cultural community of faith, we look forward to welcoming you this Sunday.
Yours in Christ,
How to Join
The Church of St. Paul’s Within the Walls has served as a house of prayer for all people since 1873. It is not only a tourist destination but also home to a vibrant, active and diverse parish congregation.
Membership at St. Paul’s
All are welcome to attend worship services and parish programming at St. Paul’s. Not only is it ok to come and “check us out” on any given Sunday, but feel free to bring friends as well!
Over time, we expect that you will become part of this church body in a more formal way. Without members who give freely and joyfully to the mission of God through this church, we would not exist! We do not collect dues from members, nor do we have a minimum giving standard to become a member.
What we do expect is that members participate in the Body of Christ through:
a) attending worship and parish activities regularly (time)
b) using your unique God given gifts to advance the mission of God through St. Paul’s (talents)
c) giving financially (pledging) by filling out a pledge form. The biblical standard of giving is a tithe (10%) of one’s income, however, God may be calling you to give more or less than a tithe based on your specific blessings or challenges (treasure).
All three of these areas are the domain of members, and those of us who are members of this church have found our faith strengthened, our friendships deepened, and our hearts made glad through this kind of participation. It is a joy to give to God through this church, because together we have witnessed just how much God can do with the gifts we freely and generously give!
If you would like to know more about membership, pledging, or about discerning your unique gifts for ministry, please contact The Rev. Austin K. Rios at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Baptism, Confirmation, Reception & Transfer of Letter
Membership in St. Paul’s stems from membership in the body of Christ. St. Paul wrote in his 1st letter to the Corinthians, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all of the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor 12:12-13). Baptism is a process that begins with preparation (catechesis), is celebrated at the principal Sunday service with the gathered community, and which then leads to a lifetime of membership and responsibility. In the Episcopal Church, we baptize adults and children with holy water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. If you would like to be baptized, please speak to Father Austin to set up an appointment.
When one is baptized as a child, the baptismal promises are made by one’s parents and godparents. Confirmation is a way of claiming those promises and responsibilities as an adult. It is a reaffirmation of one’s baptism and also serves as a decision to live those baptismal vows out as a member of the Episcopal Church. In many churches, confirmation is carried out when a youth arrives at a certain age, but here at St. Paul’s we encourage confirmands to be old enough to know what it is they are affirming, regardless of what age that is. Generally confirmation takes place after someone is at least 16 years of age, but can happen much later in adulthood. The bishop of the Convocation comes for a special visit, and the confirmation takes place in the midst of a Sunday service. Only the Bishop can confirm in our tradition, and it is generally a wonderful and joyous occasion. Confirmation involves a period of preparation, like baptism, and this time can be a fruitful way to discern what one’s gifts for ministry are, and the ways those gifts might be exercised at St. Paul’s. If you would like to explore confirmation at St. Paul’s, please contact Father Austin.
What if I’ve been baptized already in another church? This is great! We Episcopalians believe that baptism in Christ binds us all, and any baptized Christian, regardless of church tradition, is free to share in communion with us. However, persons baptized in other traditions may want to formally become members of St. Paul’s, and in this case, they may be received into the Episcopal Church. Reception happens at the same time as confirmation, and the preparation is generally alongside those preparing for confirmation. If you wish to explore being received, please contact Father Austin.
If you are an Episcopalian who has just moved to Rome from another parish, then becoming a member of St. Paul’s means getting a transfer letter from your previous parish and having that letter “moved” to St. Paul’s. We are greatly honored when members choose to transfer their letter, and we want to help you get integrated into this new church home and city. Please contact the parish administrator, Andrea, for all questions regarding transferring your letter (email@example.com), and she can set up an appointment with Father Austin so he can welcome you personally.
We are so glad you are discerning membership here at St. Paul’s, and we look forward to being transformed together and transforming the world as members of this community and the body of Christ!