The Sacrament Of Baptism
Why do we Baptise?
Baptism is described as a gift from God and within the church, Baptism is recognized as the entry point into the Christian faith.
Baptism (or Christening) is a Christian ceremony.
We Baptise because Jesus commanded us to:
‘Go therefore to make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.’
Baptism, with Holy Communion, form the two great Sacraments of the Anglican Church.
A Sacrament by definition is an outward visible sign of an inward Spiritual Grace.
In Baptism, water is the outward sign, where new (Spiritual) birth is the inward gift of God.
Baptism is an instruction given through the story Matthew told of Jesus himself being baptized in the River Jordan (Matthew 3: 13). Throughout Christianity, millions have been baptized in response to this call. People testify to being ‘renewed’ ‘refreshed’; ‘coming alive’ through this Sacramental gift. Through baptism we become part of the body of Christ. We can see, then, that baptism is a rite of the church, with deeply religious connotations.
St Cuthbert’s encourage parents and God parents who wish to bring their child/ren for Christian baptism, to be baptised themselves.
However, Baptism is not a ‘social’ occasion; it is not a quaint ceremony to be perpetuated in a family where there is either no Christian belief or no intention to live with Christian principles and teaching. Some confusion has occurred with the growth of Civil Celebrant conducted “Naming Ceremonies”, some of which follow very closely the Baptism ceremony of the church.
The decision to be Baptized, is never too late. The church welcomes the opportunity to prepare adults for baptism, whatever age. When an adult presents for baptism, the decision is reached following a time of preparation with the priest. The adult is the one who makes the commitment to follow Christ having decided to “turn to Christ; repent of sins; reject all that is false and unjust”.
As you consider baptism — are you prepared to publicly make a decision for Christ?
Making a decision for Christ
In baptism a decision is required. A commitment to God. For infants / children, those decisions are made by the parents / God parents on behalf of the child. The decision is not to be taken lightly, being made before God and for someone else.
Parents and Godparents need to consider whether they are publicly prepared to make these commitments to God, and keep them, on behalf of a child. For an infant baptism— before you agree to stand as a Godparent or even consider baptism you need to ask, am I prepared to take on these promises for myself?
Please feel free to discuss these matters with the Parish Priest.
The role of Parents/Godparents.
Parents obviously have a key role in the nurture and development of a child and this applies as much in spiritual development, as in other areas. Baptism is a commitment to God, therefore essential, that parents and Godparents are baptized in the Christian faith with preference that a decision concerning their own commitment to God has been made (Confirmation) and that there is some connection with a church (not necessarily Anglican). Traditionally, up to three godparents is usual, with two being the same sex as the child. Variation to these arrangements is possible.
When and Where?
At baptism, the person is coming into the Christian family, therefore the ceremony is regarded as most fitting, when the family gathers. Our practice within the parish is for baptism to take place during a public service, usually the main Sunday service.
Baptism at St James would be per their service schedule.
It is possible to make other arrangements, on discussion with the Parish Priest.
Want to discuss this further?
Contact the Parish Priest
Please allow the church at least one month notice to arrange the Ceremony, time is required to make fitting arrangements, unless an emergency situation exists.