Baptism is a sacrament of belonging.
In baptism we are united to God in Christ and receive the Holy Spirit.
We become a full member of the Christian Church in general and Christ’s Church in particular.
In baptism we enter a Covenant with God. We make several promises to God and God’s church:
- We affirm our faith in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- We promise to “continue in the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in the prayers.”
- We promise to “persevere in resisting evil and, whenever we fall into sin, to repent and return to the Lord.”
- We promise to “proclaim by word and example the good new of God in Christ.”
- We promise to “seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves.”
- We promise to “strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.”
In other words, we promise to be active members of the worshiping community, seeking to strengthen our faith by worship and study, and seeking to help bring God’s love into the world. When we come for baptism we are saying “yes” to God. This is a serious commitment to a life centered in God and grounded in a faith community.
Christian parents bring their children for baptism because they want them to be part of the community of faith. Parents and Godparents (or Sponsors) take on promises on behalf of the children they bring for baptism. They also take on the responsibility of raising their children as active members of the church.
In the Christian life, we are not alone. God provides us companions on the way and we share our faith and our struggles with the community of the Church. In Baptism, the Church says “yes” to you.
Baptism is a celebration of the local Christian community. It requires planning on the part of the church and preparation on the part of the candidate, or the parents and sponsors. Therefore, you are asked to give notice to the priest not less than three weeks prior to one of the pre-scheduled dates for baptism.
In bringing a child to be baptized in the church we seek to give the child something of value which we already have: active membership in the Church and the joy of the Christian life. Parents do not need to be Episcopalians, but at least one must be baptized, and it is normally expected that at least one is a practicing Christian.
Feast Days for Baptism
Baptism is a sacrament that involves the whole Christian community. Therefore it is normally celebrated during the main Sunday worship service. Because baptism is a
community event, we do not do private baptisms except in extreme emergencies.
Baptisms are held on specific occasions through the year:
- The Feast of the Baptism of our Lord (first Sunday after Epiphany)
- Easter Vigil
- All Saints
When we bring children to be baptized, the parents and godparents need to prepare for their new responsibilities. In baptismal preparation we seek to explore our faith and to understand the promises being made at baptism. At Christ’s Church, a Family Meeting is scheduled before the date of each baptism. Parents and godparents (when possible) are expected to attend this session. In these we look at the meaning of baptism, the role and duties of parents and godparents, and the actual baptismal liturgy. The final session includes a brief walk-through of the service. The sessions are conducted by one of our priests. An option exists for younger siblings to be led in a teaching and craft with our Christian Education director, Tami Burks.
Baptism of Adults
Although most of the above implies that baptism is for children, we baptize adults as well. Preparation in this case is more intense because we are preparing the individual for the Christian life, where for baptism of children we begin with practicing parents who will spend a number of years instructing their children in faith. For more information about baptism of adults, please contact a member of the clergy.
As a sacrament of commitment to God and membership in the church,there is no fee for baptism. We do encourage all members to make responsible Christian Stewardship, which includes support for the church, a regular part of their baptismal commitment and life.
For further information, or to request a baptism, please contact the Parish Office of Christ’s Church. (914) 967-1749