Photo: Adult baptism at All-Saints Anglican Church
The Holy Baptism in the Christian Church
You want to be baptized, or you want your infant to be baptized. This is great news and we want to do everything that is in our power to help you make a very special and significant step in baptism.
This presentation has been written so that you would be able to initiate the preparation for baptism in the best of conditions. We are sure this can be a great blessing to you and your family.
What is Baptism?
Baptism is a visible sign, because it is performed with water. It is the visible sign of something we cannot see, which is an invisible grace. A grace is something precious that is given to us by God, at no price for us because God already paid that price through the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. There is a word to summarize the concept of a visible sign of an invisible grace, we called it a Sacrament.
This grace is described in the Bible as “Becoming one with Christ, dying with Christ, being buried with Christ by baptism, and living a new life with Christ, in short becoming Christians” (Romans 6:3,4).
In our Anglican tradition, baptism can be administered to infants, or adults. In both cases, the parents requesting for an infant to be baptized or the adult candidate, are asked to show they understand the Christian meaning of baptism.
To that end, we hold preparatory sessions. It is not possible to be baptized in haste, like with a predetermined date, unless this is a case of Clinical baptism, which is administered to the gravely ill. Please do not plan anything without having clearly examined the question with the clergy. Baptism is the public rite of initiation into the Church, so baptisms are a normal part of our corporate worship as the Body of Christ, and we do not hold private baptisms.
The adult candidates or the parents ask for baptism for themselves or their infants by addressing a request to the clergy of their local church or parish. This action takes place in the context of the local church or parish to which they belong.
Belonging to a local church
If they do not belong to any local church or parish, they probably are in a journey of research, looking for more connection with God and his Church. This is a very valuable step and we certainly encourage them to examine the question of which church they want to join. They will receive all possible help from our clergy and other leaders in order to be able to make an informed decision about which local church they want to join, in which they will pursue their demand for baptism.
This is an important point that has to be clearly explained that baptism takes place in a local church, within the context of its regular life, and is celebrated during a regular Sunday service. If you are not a member of a local church, the best way to engage in the preparation for baptism is to think about which church you would like to join.
In baptism, you will (for yourself or your infant) be making vows that only a strong believer can in good conscience make. This is the reason why you need to be active and instructed members of a Christian church. If you’re moving to this area and are coming from another local church, you may be asked to provide a reference from your previous pastor.
When baptism is administered to infants, it is a sign that, in the community of the believers, they will be instructed in the Christian faith, both in the church and in their families, so that they will be able to make a personal commitment to Jesus Christ later in their life. This personal commitment takes place in a celebration that we call Confirmation. It is required that the family fully understands the pledge they are making. This is about a family that is fully involved in the life of a local church or parish.
When we have several demands for baptism, we may plan a baptism celebration (always during a Sunday service) gathering several candidates and families.
What happens if you have been baptized in another Christian denomination?
Basically, unless you have personal reasons to ask for it, you do not need to be baptized again just because it was in another Christian family of churches (like if you have been baptized in the Baptist Church or the Roman Catholic Church). Some people want to baptized again because they want baptism to be their personal decision, it is a good thing to be willing to make a public decision for Christ by baptism.
Adult baptism may be administered by complete immersion, like in biblical times, or otherwise, at the discretion of the candidate.
What does all this entail practically?
If the parents of children to be baptized are not yet members of our parish, we ask that they make the commitment to join the church and attend the next series of the New Members/Confirmation Course. However, their child may be baptized before these classes are completed. In addition, prior to baptism, we ask candidates and parents of infants to attend two baptism classes, which explain the meaning of this sacrament.
What would be the first step?
Come and join us, attend a service and speak to the pastor.
We pray that the Lord will guide you to move on in his plan for you, and that this preparation for baptism will be a real blessing for you.
If you have any question, please call our pastor, the Rev. Daniel Mochamps, tel. 603.973.0064.