Baptism, the First Step in an Amazing Journey
Baptism is the first step in a new way of life. Baptism is one of the very oldest of Christian traditions. Jesus himself underwent baptism before commencing his ministry some two thousand years ago. The practice of baptizing infants, in addition to adults, was widely practiced at least by the 3rd century. The baptism of infants is also known as Christening.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”
The Meaning of Baptism
Baptism is a response to God's love - a desire and a commitment to respond to God's call to follow the example of Jesus Christ. Baptism is also the process by which infants, children or adults become members of the Body of Christ and are incorporated into the community of the Church. The sacrament which celebrates this process is called Holy Baptism.
Holy Baptism is a time of celebration, an opportunity to come together with family and friends; remembering that you are loved by God and are part of a wider Christian community. The sacrament of Baptism is a once-and-for-all sacrament which takes one’s whole life to finish. Baptism is a process, more than a moment.
For adults who desire to be baptized it is important that the decision for baptism is made thoughtfully and prayerfully within the context of private and public worship as well as with participation in the wider parish community.
Questions About Baptism
Q: When do baptisms take place?
Baptisms normally take place 3 times per year during the Sunday Eucharist. The parish office can advise you of planned upcoming dates.
Q: Is there preparation required for baptism?
If you are a parent looking to have your child baptised or are an adult considering baptism for yourself, we invite you to call the parish office and speak to the clergy who will arrange a time to visit with you in person.
Q: Who may be baptized?
People of all ages may be baptized: infants, children, and adults. Because baptism is initiation into a community of faith, we invite you to attend Sunday worship for a time prior to baptism in order to become acquainted with the liturgical life of the parish, and to become involved in the Christian community.
Q: What about godparents and sponsors?
If you have an infant or young child for baptism, you may ask one or two people to act as godparents. Adult candidates may choose a sponsor. The godparents and sponsors present you or your child at the baptismal service. Godparents and sponsors are friends or family members who share your Christian faith and will support you as you make baptismal promises. They are asked to share in the responsibility of Christian nurturing and formation of their godchild.
Q: What happens during the Baptism service?
During the baptismal service, after the Scriptures are read and a sermon is preached, the candidates for baptism are presented to the presiding celebrant, after which the parish is asked to make a promise to the candidates as they join the community of faith. The parish will then join with the candidates in reciting our common faith in the ancient baptismal creed of the early church called The Apostles’ Creed. The entire parish with the baptismal candidates then affirm together a series of promises which draw out the implications of the baptismal covenant.
Q: What do the Baptismal symbols mean?
- Water is life-giving, cleansing and essential to sustain life. Each person is sprinkled with water blessed by the presiding celebrant.
- Oil blessed by the bishop is used by the celebrant to trace the sign of the cross on the candidate’s forehead with the words.
- Light in the form of a candle is given to each candidate as a symbol of the movement from darkness to light, new life and resurrection.
The service then continues with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist where we all participate in the family meal of the Church. Baptism makes us full members of the Church which means that infants, children and adults are all welcome to receive this sacrament of bread and wine.
Q: And then what?
Then the life-long process of living our baptism begins: sharing regularly in the holy eucharist, worshipping with other Christians, developing the practice of prayer and service to others based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, and participating in the life of the Christian community.
Still have questions about baptism?
If you are looking for more information about baptism please contact the parish office. We would be happy to make arrangements for a meeting with one of our clergy who would be happy to talk to you about baptism and answer any questions you may have.