Bringing your child to the Church for the Sacrament of Baptism
Having your child baptized is a wonderful choice to make, which will have life-long implications both for you and for your child. We encourage you to take this decision seriously, recognizing that the day of your child’s baptism is just the beginning of a long relationship with the Church. We take our responsibilities to you seriously also.
What is Baptism? Baptism is the way in which the church receives people into the family of Christ to live life in a new way and with new meaning. At the time of baptism, the person is formally received as a member of the church, and may receive Holy Communion.The act of baptizing someone with water symbolizes the way we are washed clean from our sin by Jesus Christ. It is one of the main sacraments of the Church, and was commanded by Jesus himself.
What does it mean for me to be baptized? When we become baptized we make a commitment to follow Jesus Christ. This means that we are willing to let go of our old ways of seeing ourselves and others. We choose to recognize the Lordship of Jesus Christ over our lives, and submit to His leadership: we become actively Christian.
What does it mean to bring a child or infant for Baptism? If we are bringing children to be baptized we make a commitment to bring them up in the Christian faith, so that they might be able to make a choice for themselves when they are older. As baptized individuals or parents of a child being baptized we also promise to support the work of our local congregation and diocese through our gifts of time, talents, and financial resources.
How is baptism celebrated in the Anglican Church? The service of baptism includes the reading of scripture and preaching of a sermon, the presentation of the candidates, and the affirmation of beliefs by the candidates, or in the case of children, those who represent them. In the Anglican Church water is poured onto the head of the candidate for baptism with the words, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit". The sign of the cross is then traced with water on the candidates’ forehead to show that baptism brings the gift of the Holy Spirit. The candidates are given a candle to represent the light of Christ and are received into the church community. Normally the service continues with the celebration of Holy Communion. We use a set liturgy. It is not possible to alter the vows and promises made. You need to be able to say the promises you make with integrity and follow through on them.
What kind of commitment is this? These are significant promises. Amongst others you will be asked to make these commitments: Will you be responsible for seeing that the child you present is nurtured in the faith and life of the Christian community? Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your savior? Our Church community will also be asked questions: Will you who witness these vows do all in your power to support these persons in their life in Christ? You need to actively raise your child in the Christian Church wherever you live, attending worship each week.
We will do our best to support you in this decision. We will gladly welcome you to our community, or we can refer you to a church closer to where you live.