HOLY BAPTISM is the sacrament by which one becomes a Christian and a member of the Church. All ministry originates in baptism. Therefore, living out one’s baptism is at the heart of our life together.
The Episcopal Church defines baptism as “full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body, the Church” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 298), and recognizes as valid any baptism administered with water and in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Baptism is an event of primary significance and celebration not just for the individual but for the whole church. Baptisms are offered throughout the year on specific Sundays and at the Easter Vigil. Preparation is offered regularly in anticipation of Baptism Sundays.
Baptism is a ritual of inclusion and belonging that indicates our desire to enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ and the Church. We baptize adults and infants in the Episcopal Church on the belief that God’s love extends to everyone regardless of their age.
Before one is baptized, certain promises must be made to God, in the presence of God’s people (which is why almost all baptisms are done in the context of public worship). These promises, which are explored in a series of classes before and after baptism, are:
To resist what is wrong – This promise is called a “renunciation” – to renounce something means to reject its power and influence over us. We renounce evil in all its forms.
To believe what is true – This promise is an acceptance of Jesus as Savior, to put one’s whole trust in his grace and love, and to follow and obey him as the Lord..
To do what is right – This is a promise to live according to Christ’s teachings. We know these through reading the Bible, by praying, and by committing ourselves to learn and grow spiritually in the Christian faith.
For infants or children who cannot understand these promises, we ask parents and sponsors (also known as godparents) to make these promises as well, plus an additional promise: to teach the Christian faith to the child being baptized. This will prepare the child for the time when they can assume responsibility for the promises made on their behalf at Baptism. This happens through the sacrament of confirmation.
Questions regarding baptism?
Contact the Rev. Mary Staley.