“God reaches out first to us, even before we look for God.”
Baptism is one of the two sacraments we celebrate together, the other being Holy Communion. The holy sacrament of Baptism is a service our church provides to parents wishing to bring their children up in the fellowship of our congregation, and to adults who did not receive baptism as an infant and yet wish to live life as a committed Christian and member of God’s family. Church membership is not a prerequisite but it is encouraged.
In Congregational churches people may be baptized at any time from infancy through adulthood. The ceremony indicates the mark of one’s acceptance into the care of Christ’s church and the beginning of their new growth into full mature Christian faith and life.
Through baptism, Christians are brought into union with Christ, with each other and with the church in every time and place. The church views baptism differently from other rites it may perform, such as marriage and burial services. These rites are open to all; however baptism is an expression of Christian faith. It establishes the relationship between the individual, church and God. Baptism requires faith in God through his son, Jesus Christ.
What do you think baptism means, and why is it important to you? If you are a parent, what will your plan be up upon your commitment to raise your child as a Christian? If you are an adult seeking baptism, how will you live and grow as a Christian? Are you comfortable with our church, its worship and practices?
Answers to these questions and others are discussed during our baptism classes. Attending baptismal instruction is a pre-requisite to scheduling your baptism ceremony. Each class is brief, no more than one hour long. Classes are offered several times during the year, usually on a weekend, led by the pastor. Contact the Church Secretary to learn when the next baptism class is scheduled.
Many persons coming to faith for the first time as adults were not baptized as children. This was normal during the growth of New Testament churches and is still common in our world today. We encourage adults who wish to receive the sacrament of baptism as a sign and seal of their faith in Jesus Christ to come forward. You may celebrate during a worship service. There is no need for embarrassment. Our congregation rejoices with you!
Baptism of Infants
When a child is baptized during a church worship service, it is a covenant made among the parents, the church, and God. Together we promise to nurture the seed of faith placed in the child through the Holy Spirit, during the baptism sacrament. By God’s grace, the child will gain an eternal identity as one who loves God and follows Christ.
The Role of Parents
To many people the baptism ceremony is meant to specifically welcome a baby into God’s Family. But surprisingly enough it’s not just for the child, it’s also an important celebration for the parents. It gives them a chance to introduce their child not only into a community of faith; but also to the fellow parents of our church family who can offer support and fellowship.
Baptism is a dedication of yourselves as parents. By bringing your child before our congregation, you are announcing your willingness to have your family be a part of God’s larger family. You are making a public promise to raise your child in a Christian home where you pray together. Your faith as parents qualifies your child to be baptized. By bringing your child to the waters of baptism you are proclaiming your faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
The Role of the Godparent
Often people ask what we believe about “god-parents.” The role of the godparent is to accompany the new Christian and. offer guidance and support of on their journey of faith. Godparents may stand up with the candidate and family at the time of baptism. A Godparent should develop an-ongoing relationship, with the newly baptized person, seeking to offer encouragement, friendship, and guidance. A God-parent should commit to pray regularly for the child.
The Role of the Church
We are not baptized into a specific congregation, but into the whole church universal. Baptism is our sign and seal of God’s promises. Being baptized during a worship service is not only a personal celebration for family and friends but also a celebration of faith in the life of our church. When an infant is baptized, a covenant is made among the parents, our church and God, to raise the child in Christian love. When an adult receives baptism the congregation will wish to joyously join in celebrating this step in faith.
Requirements: Christian faith, for sure, on the part of at least one of the parents, or if the candidate for baptism is an adult, a willingness to make a faith confession. We strongly encourage membership in our church, and ask that if the family does not feel so inclined, they be able to say what church they will affiliate with. This is especially important when considering the family’s plan to raise a baptized child as a Christian. It is normative to share this important task and privilege with a Christian congregation. We also require parents of children and adults receiving baptism to attend our baptismal instruction class prior to scheduling their ceremony.
Pool: For adults who wish to be immersed, baptisms can take place in the pool located in the adjacent Community House. Pool baptisms may be scheduled during Sunday afternoons and may either be private or opened to the congregation.
It’s our hope that the information presented here on our website will guide through our Baptism ceremony. If you have further questions, you may call the church office at 718-268-6704 or e-mail: .