A baptism is a sacrament of the Christian Church by which a person is spiritually adopted into the Family of God.
As a sacrament, baptism is an outer sign of an inner grace.
In the case of an infant baptism, parents make spiritual vows on behalf of their child in promising to raise that child, to the best of their ability, in the Christian faith.
This commitment is to include teaching the faith at home and participation in the worship of the community of faith – the local congregation.
Congregation members also participate in the baptism of a child by promising to act as guardians of children under their spiritual care, including the child being baptized.
- THE ROLE OF GODPARENTS
- Because congregation members make promises to be spiritual guardians, we do not have an official role for godparents in United Church tradition.
- If you choose to have godparents present for the baptism, they may stand with you, and make the same promise as other members of the congregation.
- ALL ARE WELCOME INTO ACTIVELY LIVING OUT YOUR BAPTISM
- Baptized status is not a prerequisite to being married or buried in The United Church. Baptism is not just the public naming of a child.
- It is a rite of initiation into the Christian faith and the Christian community, as well as a commitment by you to live your Christian love at home.
- EXPECTATIONS OF PARENTS
- It is not required that either parent is a member of the congregation, but it is reasonable to expect the parents to participate in the worship life of the congregation to the best of their ability.
- We strongly encourage you and your family to become involved in the life of the congregation before your child is baptized. This enables the congregation to fulfill their promised role in baptism.
- We encourage children to participate in our nursery care’s Sunday School program to assist them in their development of faith.
- ALTERNATIVES TO BAPTISM
- If you feel that you cannot, in good conscience, make the promises of baptism as a parent, you may prefer instead to have a ritual called Thanksgiving for the Birth of a Child.
- In this ritual, the worshipping community gives thanks for your child’s birth, a blessing is said, and parents make no promises about participating in the life of the Church.
- RELATION OF BAPTISM TO CONFIRMATION
- People who are baptized as infants are members of the Christian Church, i.e. the whole Christian family.
- When they reach an age where they can decide for themselves, they may undertake a program of inquiry and study.
- As a result of this process they make an adult profession of faith and choose the branch of the Christian family to which they wish to belong.
- This process is called Confirmation– e.g. one can be confirmed into The United Church.
- Some United Church people choose not to have their children baptized because they want them to make their own decision, as adults, about baptism.
- Such adults may choose a program of guided study and be baptized and confirmed at the same time.
If you have other questions regarding baptism, please contact Cordova Bay United Church.