What is Baptism? (BCP, p. 858)
Holy Baptism is the sacrament by which God adopts us as his children and makes us members of Christ’s Body, the Church, and inheritors of the kingdom of God.
What is the outward and visible sign in Baptism?
The outward and visible sign in Baptism is water, in which the person is baptized in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
What is the inward and spiritual grace in Baptism?
The inward and spiritual grace in Baptism is union with Christ in his death and resurrection, birth into God’s family the Church, forgiveness of sins, and new life in the Holy Spirit.
What is required of us at Baptism?
It is required that we renounce Satan, repent of our sins, and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
Why then are infants baptized?
Infants are baptized so that they can share citizenship in the Covenant, membership in Christ, and redemption by God. Parents are encouraged to begin the preparation for the Baptism of their child during the time of pregnancy.
How are the promises for infants made and carried out?
Promises are made for them by their parents and godparents, who promise that the infants will be brought up within the Church, to know Christ and be able to follow him.
Why is Baptism celebrated with the Holy Eucharist on Sunday?
Baptism is the Rite of Christian Initiation in which the candidate is initiated into the Christian household, the body of Christ. Baptism is a new birth into a new family of the Christian household. The newly baptized acquires a new identity and a new life as Christian, a member of the body of Christ. The proper ceremony of Baptism requires the presence of the congregation into which the candidate is being initiated. Baptism without commitment to a worshipping community is meaningless.
What is expected of the newly Baptized?
Baptism is a beginning and a commitment. Christians commit themselves to a life of Christian discipleship at Baptism. It’s a life-long vocation of worship, prayer, study of Holy Scripture and service to others. Therefore, one is expected to make this decision with serious intention and integrity.
Does the Episcopal Church accept the Baptism of other Christian churches?
The Episcopal Church recognizes the Baptism in other churches as long as it is done with water and by the invocation of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. So, in the Episcopal Church all the baptized Christians may receive Holy Communion.
Dates for Baptism
Feast Day of Baptism of our Lord (Sunday after January 6)
Easter Vigil (Saturday evening before Easter Sunday)
Pentecost Day (Fifty days after Easter Sunday)
All Saints Sunday (Sunday after November 1)
What is involved in getting baptized as an adult?
The Adult Baptism is normally done in the Easter Vigil service the night before Easter Sunday. The candidate is asked to attend church regularly for at least six months as a sign of commitment and serious intention before beginning the preparation for Baptism. The preparation consists of twenty or so classes, starting in November.
The adult candidate should have a sponsor for Baptism at some stage of the preparation journey. The sponsor must be a baptized Christian and preferably a member of St. John’s in good standing. The sponsor is asked to pray for and support the candidate in this faith journey and take part in several designated classes and the final class.
What is involved in having my child baptized?
The Baptism of infants and children is celebrated on four major feast days mentioned above. The parents and the godparents speak and make the commitment to the Baptismal Covenant on behalf of the child. They promise that the child will be nurtured in the Christian faith and values according to the Baptismal Covenant. Christians are not born but are formed through spiritual and religious formation in the Christian household—family and church.
The parents and the child are asked to attend St. John's Episcopal Church regularly for six months as a sign of commitment and serious intention before beginning the preparation for Baptism. Three preparation classes are required. The parents must attend all three; the godparents are required to attend the final class, although they are encouraged to attend all three if possible.
The godparents must be baptized Christians themselves. They are asked to take this “calling” seriously and to discern this commitment prayerfully. They are being asked to take part in the spiritual nurturing of the child and in looking out for the well-being of the child as the child grows up. So, the parents are also asked to discern prayerfully as they choose the godparents for their child.
Blessing of Parents during the Pregnancy
Parents are encouraged to plan and take part in the preparation for the Baptism of their child during the pregnancy. The pastoral Blessing of Parents during the pregnancy marks the beginning of an intentional preparation for the birth and for the later baptism of the child. It is expected that the parents attend St. John's regularly and participate in the scheduled preparation classes for the Baptism of their child.
Thanksgiving for the Birth or Adoption of a Child (BCP, p. 439)
As soon as convenient after the birth of a child, or after receiving a child by adoption, the parents, with other members of the family, should come to the church to be welcomed by the congregation and to give thanks to God. It is desirable that this take place at a Sunday service but a private family service is also possible. This pastoral blessing also marks an important step in the parents’ and the child’s spiritual journey toward the Baptism of the child.