Baptism

Meaning
Baptism, in the case of infants and young children Baptism may be intended by parents and guardians to mark the beginning for the child of the Christian life which they (the adults) already profess. Those who see it this way know that it is a commitment to the child until adulthood. They know, and current research shows, that the likelihood of a child keeping a meaningful faith right through adulthood is due more to the example and influence of parents that is it due to the influence of clergy, religious teachers or Sunday school.

The Adult who chooses to be baptized is most often one who has already been on a journey of faith in Jesus Christ and wants to go beyond “cultural Christianity” to a life lived more fully in the presence of God.

The real question for parents who bring children and adults who seek Baptism is why be a Christian anyhow?
Parents give any number of reasons including:
(a) I want my child to grow up knowing God
(b) I was baptized and I am continuing a family tradition
(c) I believe that something bad will happen to this child if he or she is not baptized and worse, he or she will go to hell if he or she dies without being baptized.

Many who have not got so far in finding meaning may be doing it as part of “cultural Christianity”. They feel it is their right living in a Western Country. Some of this may be driven since 911 by the impression that our Western values are being overrun by foreigners and we have to stand up for our “Christian traditions and values”, like prayer in schools and legislatures, Christmas trees in public buildings.. Etc. When you follow the media, however, we see the greater threat in people who abuse their trust by preying upon children in schools, sports teams, on the Internet. Fear and anxiety are increased by what we are told can harm our children in the food they eat and the air they breathe.

2000 years ago, the initial interest around Baptism stemmed from the fact that John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus believed that God was creating a new world order and that it required a different kind of person to live in that new world order. We have had the benefit of history to see that Jesus of Nazareth modeled that new kind of human being. After he had benefited form the best that his home and family could give him he, as it were, stepped into this new understanding of himself, which we call “The Christ”. He as Christ-ened, made God’s human face.
Our greatest challenge is to live who we really are courageously in the world. Life can be a time of putting on and taking off various identities until we come to know how we too are special children of God. Clearly this is not something that is going to happen once and for all at Baptism and less so if we never undertake any opportunity to learn the Christian faith as seriously as we learn in school or learn our daily jobs. We would need to be afraid of a God who favoured Western Christians who simply go through their rituals without meaning; while turning away from people who are faithful and God-fearing in other religions.
Preparation of Adults for Baptism will incorporate some of what follows but will include more. The preferred day of Baptism for adults is Holy Saturday. The only children baptized on Holy Saturday will be those of adults who themselves are being baptized then.

Preparation
There will be three (3) sessions at which parents and Godparents are expected to be present. There will be teaching and discussion on the meaning of Baptism and the responsibilities of church membership.

The Rehearsal
This will take place on the Saturday before the Baptism. All persons taking a role in the service, parents and godparents, must attend. We will go through the actual service and movements during the service. You will get information about the ways we can support you following through this decision after Baptism. Refreshments will be served at this session.

Baptism Dates
Service time: 10.00 am periodically throughout the year, determined on the basis of need.

No baptisms in Lent, Advent, Easter Sunday, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
Emergency Baptism is available any day or time if it is known that a child is dying.
No photographs involving flashes are allowed during the service and no one must leave his or her seat to take any. After the service there is ample time to pose for photographs in the Baptistery.
Certificates are issued after the Baptism service.
There is no fee for Baptism.




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