At Christ Church, we delight in welcoming the newly baptized as partners with us in Christ’s life and ministry. We hope the information below will be of assistance if you are considering being baptized or having your child baptized.
What is baptism?
Holy Baptism is a sacrament by which new members are made part of Christ’s Body, the Christian Church. The outward and visible sign in baptism is water, in which an individual is baptized in the name of the Triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). The inward and spiritual grace in baptism is the person’s unity with Christ, being birthed into God’s household, received the forgiveness of sins and new life in the Holy Spirit.
In baptism, holy water is poured over the head of the person being baptized. Then Chrism (holy oil, blessed by the bishop) is poured on the person’s head as the presence of the Holy Spirit is invoked and claimed for this new Christian. Finally, a candle is given to the newly baptized, symbolizing that this person now shares in carrying the Light of Christ into the world.
Who can be baptized?
Anyone who seeks God and is drawn to Jesus Christ is welcome to receive the sacrament of Holy Baptism. God’s invitation extends to people of all ages and from every kind of background.
The celebration of an infant’s baptism is a joyous occasion for that child and for the family, as well as for the family-in-Christ, the church. Baptism celebrates God’s love for us, and that God calls each of us to a special and personal relationship.
When we baptize infants, the parents and sponsors (godparents) make promises on behalf of the child. When we baptize adults, the adult renounces evil, affirms faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and joins in promising to uphold the faith of the Church.
When are baptisms offered?
The calendar of the Christian church has four feast days on which baptisms are especially appropriate. They are:
- The Feast of the Baptism of our Lord, in January
- The Great Vigil of Easter in early spring
- The Day of Pentecost, in late spring, and
- All Saints’ Sunday, in November.
We encourage baptisms on these joyous occasions. If circumstances necessitate a different date, we will try to accommodate your need. Baptisms are not held in the season of Lent (the forty days leading up to Easter) and are not encouraged during Advent (the four weeks preceding Christmas).
How do I schedule a baptism?
Please fill out the Baptism Form and submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org or you may contact our Parish Administrator at 410-543-5921 or email@example.com. We will do all in our power to make your baptism a joyous event and to support you in your life in Christ.
Who can be godparents?
Every candidate for baptism is accompanied in their faith journey by at least one sponsor (for adults) or godparent (for minor children). The commitment of the sponsor is to support the candidate in the Christian faith and life. One sponsor must be a Christian, preferably an Episcopalian. Anyone else can serve in this role, including persons from other faith traditions or no faith tradition—as long as the individual is sincere in promising to support the candidate’s spiritual growth as a Christian.
Traditionally, a boy had two godfathers and one godmother, whereas a girl had two godmothers and one godfather. Today, however, any number of sponsors is considered appropriate.
Must we be active members or regular givers?
No. We welcome everyone. Period. Since part of what baptism conveys is membership in the Body of Christ, the church, we welcome you to participate in our worship and community life–before, during, and after the baptism.
What are the expectations of the church after baptism?
Because baptism is a rite of initiation and welcome, the church yearns for the newly baptized to have an authentic relationship with God and the Christian assembly. A mark of this relationship will be regular participation in the life of the Episcopal Church. We invite candidates for baptism to take seriously this aspect of the Christian life, expressing a sincere commitment to “continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers.”
How much does baptism cost?
As a sign of God’s love freely bestowed upon all people, there is no charge for baptism. If you wish to make a monetary donation in thanksgiving for a baptism, a donation to the discretionary fund of the rector is welcome and appreciated. Make checks payable to “Christ Church,” enter “Rector’s Discretionary Fund” in the memorandum line.
Can we take pictures?
Yes. This is a joyous event and we are happy for you to take pictures but we ask that flash photography and spotlighted video not be used because they are distracting to the congregation and the participants.
I was baptized elsewhere; do I need to be baptized again?
No. Baptism is baptism. You could have been baptized in the Roman Catholic church, a Baptist temple, or down by the riverside by a Congregationalist minster—whatever, so longer as involved water and an invocation of the Triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). These are all recognized by the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion.
What do I do if I don’t know if I was ever baptized?
No problem. Although we consider baptism an unrepeatable event, we also have the ability to perform what is called a “conditional baptism” in circumstances like these.