"Hello, I'm thinking of getting baptized."
"Hello, I'd like to get my child baptized?"
If you are thinking of getting baptized or having your child baptized, it is important to contact the rector as soon as possible. Baptism is a serious rite of passage, the commitment to live in relationship with Jesus Christ, and so requires preparation.
Please read the information below, then contact our rector to set an appointment to talk about baptism.
WHAT IS BAPTISM?
Baptism is the way in which the church receives people into the family of God 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 Lord's Supper)
According to the Book of Alternative Services of the Anglican Church of Canada,
"baptism is the sign of new life in Christ and unites Christ with his people" (p.146).
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 make a conscious decision to respect ourselves and others, to grow in our ability to live in harmony with others, and to forgive when others hurt us. We believe that we have a responsibility to resist evil in our own lives and to work to transform our society into a caring family which is centered on Christ's passionate love for the world.
If we are bringing children to be baptized we make a commitment to bring them up to understand God's purpose for the world and to encourage them to participate in bringing about this purpose. 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.
If parents are not ready to make baptismal promises or wish to defer baptism until the child is able to make his or her own decision, the church also offers a service of Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child.
This service provides an opportunity for a family to give thanks for the birth of a child and to pray for God's help in the child's care and nurture.
WHO MAY BE BAPTIZED?
Adults who believe God is calling them into the Christian way of life are invited to become baptized. As well, a parent who has been baptized and wishes his or her children to participate in God's creative activity may bring a child forward to receive this sacrament. If there is a second parent who is not baptized, it is customary for that parent to consent to the baptism of the child.
MAY AN UNMARRIED PARENT PRESENT A CHILD FOR BAPTISM?
Any baptized adult may present a child for baptism. In the community of God's people both the child and the single parent will find a church family committed to their support and nurture.
WHO ARE SPONSORS OR GODPARENTS?
Sponsors can be baptized adult members of any Christian community. They are witnesses to the baptism and accept responsibility for supporting the child's spiritual development. When a child is baptized the sponsors, popularly called godparents, present the child and join with the parents in making the baptismal promises on behalf of the child.
WHEN DOES A BAPTISM TAKE PLACE?
Because baptism is the way a person becomes part of the church community, the witness and welcome of the congregation is an essential part of the service. Normally baptism is administered on Sunday or other major feast days of the church, when the congregation is assembled for worship. Members of the congregation commit themselves to support and care for the newly baptized persons and to help them grow in faith.
HOW MUCH NOTICE IS REQUIRED FOR BAPTISM?
Some parishes reserve baptism for a few special celebrations during the year so that it becomes a highlight of parish life. The priest or deacon can provide this information. As well, time is needed for the baptism preparation. It is wise to contact the priest several months in advance.
IS THERE A FEE FOR BAPTISM?
Baptism is a sacrament, and as such is a gift of God to us. There is no fee for baptism.
HOW IS BAPTISM IN THE ANGLICAN CHURCH CELEBRATED?
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 candidate's 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.
WHAT HAPPENS IF SOMEONE DIES UNBAPTIZED?
Sometimes, when a child or adult dies unbaptized, members of the deceased's family worry about what happens after death. It is important to remember that God's love is far greater that human love. Therefore, when we say that God judges each of us in perfect love, mercy and justice, we can trust in God's loving care for all who have died, baptized or unbaptized.
HOW DOES BAPTISM DIFFER FROM CONFIRMATION?
Those who were baptized as children often wish to make a mature affirmation of the baptismal promises made on their behalf by their parents and sponsors. This affirmation is done through the sacrament of confirmation, in the presence of a bishop.
WHAT IF I WISH TO BECOME AN ANGLICAN BUT AM ALREADY BAPTIZED?
Baptism in any Christian church or denomination is acknowledged as valid within the Anglican Church. Any baptized person may become a member of the Anglican parish and contributing to its life and ministry. Some parishes and individuals will want to acknowledge this publicly, such as through services of confirmation or reception by the Bishop.
Grant, O Lord, that all who are Baptized into the death of Jesus Christ your Son may live in the power of his resurrection and look for him to come again in Glory; who lives and reins now and forever. Amen.
The above information has been taken from a brochure produced by the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster, BC and the website of the Anglican Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.