HISTORY OF BAPTISM
BELONGING TO THE CHURCH
REQUESTS FOR BAPTISMS
In the early days of the Church, new Christians were often baptised at Easter. After a course of instruction in the faith, they publicly entered into a new life. They repented of their sins, were assured of God's forgiveness and were baptised, often in a river. This was a symbol that they had died to their old life and, born again, been given a share in the Holy Spirit who came on Jesus at his baptism and, after his resurrection, was given to his disciples.
Generally, in the early Christian centuries, those who joined the Church were not only baptised with water; the bishop also laid his hands on them in blessing, a rite which later developed into what we know as confirmation. Admission to the Church was completed by their receiving Holy Communion for the first time.
Baptism, confirmation and first communion still form the pattern today.
What Baptism Means
Whilst all who truly believe are members of the Church, as the Body of Christ, from the beginnings of Christianity baptism has been used as a sign of membership. It involves a symbolic washing with water, in which we renounce whatever is at odds with our faith, and are claimed publicly as belonging to God. At first this mainly involved adults, but very soon children and babies were also baptised. This added a new symbolism to the action: that we are celebrating God’s love for all his children, freely given and received without bargaining.
Although a baby cannot decide to make the baptism promises for themselves, in the Anglican Church a baptism shows that the child is included as a member of the church family.
When a child is baptised the family and church members look forward to the day when the promises made on behalf of the baby become personally real for the child. The child can later confirm the promises made at baptism at a confirmation service.
Parents who would rather that their child was not baptised until old enough to choose to follow Jesus for themselves can have a 'Service of Thanksgiving for the Birth of a Child', instead of a baptism.
Many people grow up in the Church because they have been baptised as babies and brought up in a Christian family. That is not always the case. Increasing numbers of older people - from teenagers to great grandparents - are making their own decision to join the Church.
For some people this comes as a sudden conversion. For others, a curiosity about God or about the person of Jesus grows into a gradual awareness of his presence and an increasing conviction that he demands some sort of personal commitment. They feel the need to express that commitment by joining a worshipping community of the Church.
Some people follow a slightly different path. They get involved with their friends or their children in the social activities of their local church without having much interest in what the Church is really for. They enjoy the friendship of Christian people and get interested in the Church for its own sake. Gradually, they, too, want to belong.
Requests for Baptisms
Enquiries about Baptisms can now be made through the Parish Office, which is in the Parish Centre. The administrator Julia Taylor, can take enquiries between the hours of 2:30 PM - 6:00 PM on Monday's and 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM on Wednesday's. A preparation meeting for parents is held on the first Monday of each month at 6:30 PM.
Telephone: 01429 281122 or Email: email@example.com
WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION
READING / TALK
by the power of your Holy Spirit you give to your faithful people new life in the water of baptism.
Guide and strengthen us by the same Spirit, that we who are born again may serve you in faith
and love, and grow into the full stature of your Son, Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit now and forever. Amen.
Do you wish to be Baptised?
The priest addresses the whole congregation
Faith is the gift of God to his people.
In Baptism the Lord is adding to our number those whom he is calling.
People of God, will you welcome ...... and uphold ..... in .... new life in Christ?
All With the help of God, we will.
Parents and Godparents, the church receives ......... with joy. Today we are trusting God for their growth in faith.
Will you pray for them, draw them by your example, into the community of faith, and walk with them in the way of Christ?
With the help of God we will.
In baptism ... begin their journey of faith. You speak for them today. Will you care for them, and help them to their place within the life and worship of Christ Church?
With the help of God we will.
In baptism, God calls us out of the darkness into his marvellous light. To follow Christ means dying to wrongdoing and rising to new life with him.
Therefore I ask you:
DO YOU TURN TO CHRIST?
I turn to Christ.
ARE YOU SORRY WHEN YOUR SELFISHNESS CAUSES HURT?
I am sorry.
DO YOU RENOUNCE EVIL?
I renounce evil.
DO YOU COME TO CHRIST THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE?
I come to Christ.
SIGNING WITH THE CROSS
The minister makes the sign of the cross on the forehead, saying:
Christ claims you for his own. Receive the sign of the cross. Do not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified.
Fight valiantly as a disciple of Christ against sin, the world and the devil, and remain faithful to Christ to the end of your life.
May almighty God deliver you from the powers of darkness, restore in you the image of his glory, and lead you in the light and obedience of Christ. Amen.