Baptism is a wonderful celebration of God’s love and Rev. Kristine will be glad to discuss your baptism, or the baptism of your child at any time. There is no fee for a service of Baptism. Here is some information that will help you as you consider participating in this sacrament:
The decision to have yourself or your child baptized is an important one and must only be made after reflection on your own spiritual journey and your commitment to Christ and his church. As it says in Living Faith (our Presbyterian Statement of Belief):
[Baptism] is a sacrament meant
for those who profess their faith
and for their children…
Baptism is also an act of discipleship
that requires commitment
and looks toward growth in Christ. (Living Faith 7.6.3-4)
Baptism is not a superstition…
Sometimes baptism is seen as something people ought to “have done” to keep you or your child from harm, or ensure a good life. However, while Baptism celebrates God’s blessing, it does not ensure health and wealth. It is not within the Biblical understanding of faith that an unbaptized person is deprived of God’s love or that an unbaptized child who dies will go to hell.
Baptism is not a social custom…
Baptism is not “done” just to make grandma happy or because it is a family tradition. When parents and children take part in baptism, it is the beginning of a long-term relationship with God and the church. Baptism is a brief event but its meaning is lived throughout a whole lifetime.
Baptism is not naming the child…
The child receives his/her name when the birth is registered with the provincial government. In Baptism, we receive Christ’s name and are thereafter known as “Christian”. Using the child’s name in baptism signifies that the child is given to you in trust, and that you as parents are responsible to God for your parenting and for the child’s growth.
Baptism is not a private act or ceremony…
Baptism is an initiation into the body of Christ (the church), and that happens through a particular congregation. If the person baptized is a young child, parents make promises on the child’s behalf. The congregation also makes promises. Together with God, parents and the people of the congregation enter into an agreement with God–a covenant–that we will raise the child in the Christian faith. All of us together agree to support, teach, pray for the child.
Baptism is not something WE do…
Instead, baptism is a celebration of what God in Christ has done for us. It is a formal recognition that the person baptized is a child of God. Baptism doesn’t mean that suddenly the child or adult is able to receive love from God, but acknowledges that we are human and claims forgiveness for the baptized person.
The blessing of Baptism is new life through the forgiveness of sins, made possible by Jesus Christ. This blessing is nurtured, sustained, and celebrated within the fellowship of the church. There is a sense of belonging that comes with being baptized, because through this sacrament we are welcomed into God’s family.
At least one of the parents or a grandparent/guardian who brings their children forward for baptism must themselves be baptized and will have made a public profession of faith (often referred to as confirmation or “joining the church”). They will be prepared to affirm their allegiance to Christ and their rejection of all that is evil. Godparents are not normally a part of our tradition, although special friends or relatives may stand with the parents and take vows along with the congregation. Here is a brief outline of the parents’ and congregation’s responsibilities:
Parent(s) who bring their child for Baptism will make a solemn commitment to give their children a Christian upbringing. This will include:
- Helping the child to be at worship and Sunday school often and with regularity;
- Co-operating with the congregation as it attempts to fulfil its responsibilities of nurture and support;
- Having materials with Christian themes and teachings among the child’s books, toys, and videos;
- Having a Bible in the home and helping the child to hear the stories of God’s people;
- Setting an example of love, forgiveness, and sharing;
- Being an active part of the life and work of the congregation;
- Praying for their child.
The family of faith at Trafalgar will also commit to carrying out certain responsibilities. These include:
- Encouraging the family as they seek to fulfill their commitment to God;
- Praying regularly for those who are baptized;
- Working hard at offering spiritual nourishment to parents and adults through sermons, worship, sacraments, Bible study and friendly support;
- Providing high-quality church school teachers and Bible-based resources in Sunday school to supplement Christian nurture in the home.
While the entire community is invited to promise their ongoing love, prayer and support of the one being baptised, some families invite a special person(s) to take on a special role. This relative or friend does not have any legal responsibilities but agrees to stand with the family during baptism and help to offer spiritual guidance and help after the day of Baptism. Please speak to Rev. Kristine about arranging to include godparents in the service if you wish.
Planning the celebration
The session is responsible for the provision of Baptism. This means that elders (ordained church leaders who demonstrate spiritual maturity and appropriate gifts for service) here at Trafalgar will be consulted before any baptism takes place. We meet once a month on the second Tuesday.
Except for emergency situations, this sacrament is celebrated in a service of public worship (Sunday morning) and particular dates may be discussed with the minister. If you would like to use our church facilities for a lunch or reception after the service, please call the church office to inquire about arrangements. There is no fee for the service of Baptism.
The children of the congregation are usually present to watch. If you have older children, other relatives, or special friends who would like to be involved in the worship service that day, please discuss this with the minister. Older siblings, for example, may enjoy pouring the water into the font or lighting a baptismal candle.
When you have considered the meaning of Baptism and are ready to enter into God’s covenant, please Rev. Kristine at trafalgarchurch [@] bellnet [dot] ca or (905) 842-2800