Thinking about Baptism

Baptism is one of the two sacraments that we celebrate in the United Church of Canada.

Baptism is the sacrament of entry into the Christian community.

This makes Baptism a crucial moment in life.

It is an occasion for the affirmation of faith in God through Jesus Christ and for the public declaration of a commitment to follow Jesus throughout all of life. It is offered to all who wish to make this affirmation and commitment.

 

Baptism is a response believers make to the Good News of the Christian Gospel. It is in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ that we learn about the Christian way of living. Jesus revealed to us that God’s love has no limit. Jesus upset the people of his day. His radical love and his commitment to justice caused people to resent his teachings. People became upset with Jesus and so they crucified him. Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ we learn that the forces of evil cannot conquer God’s love. God would not let death and evil have the final say. God’s love is stronger than death. God loves each person for who they are and for who they can become. There is nothing that will stop God from loving us and wanting the best for us.

Video can be seen here  Second video Three Baptisms at St. Paul's

Parent’s Responsibilities
The responsibilities which fall upon parents who bring children to
the Church for baptism arise from the fact that they are affirming
their own Christian faith and promising to raise their child in this
same faith. This promise is fulfilled by parents in the following
ways:


1. By affirming the importance of Christian faith in their own
lives and by seeking to grow in faith and to understand and
share their faith.


2. By providing the child with a knowledge of Christian truths
and duties, and with opportunities for both public worship
and private prayer.


3. By being the kind of parent whose care and discipline will
help the child to understand God’s love and to experience it
in both the home and the Christian community.


                
Thoughts to Ponder
“Do you truly desire for yourself what you are asking for
your child?”


“Can you commit your child to anything more than you are
committed to yourself?”


Congregation’s Responsibilities
The responsibility that falls upon the congregation arises from the
fact that a baptized child is, by baptism, received into the church
of Jesus Christ. The congregation promises at baptism, not only
to receive the child, but to assist the parents in the Christian
nurture of the child. This promise is fulfilled by the congregation in
the following ways:


1. By affirming that worship belongs to everyone, of every
age; and that children are an integral part of the worshiping
community.


2. By providing Christian education programs for children and
youth through which the congregation can strengthen and
support the Christian nurture provided in the home.


3. By being another intentional Christian community, aside
from the home, in which a child’s faith can grow, be
understood and shared.


                  
Thoughts to Ponder
“Are you willing to support the congregation as it seeks to
fulfill it’s responsibilities for your child and all other children
under its care?”


“Are you willing to affirm the importance of the community
of faith by being a part of it with your child?”


Are there other reasons for Baptism?
In the minds of many people today there are “other reasons” for
bringing a child to the church for Baptism. They are not, however,
the right reasons.


Listed below are some of the most common “other reasons” which
we hear; and a brief explanation why each is not the “right reason”
for baptism.


1. TO GIVE THANKS FOR OUR CHILD’S BIRTH
Although thanksgiving is certainly a part of a Baptism
service, Baptism is much more than this. There are
services of “Thanksgiving after Childbirth”. If this is your
only concern, then you should ask for such a service.


2. SO OUR CHILD CAN HAVE THE SAME OPPORTUNITIES
WE HAD TO DECIDE ABOUT RELIGION

Baptism presupposes a decision already. And unless you,
as a parent, have chosen the way of Christ for yourself you
can hardly choose it for your child.


3. SO OUR CHILD CAN GO TO SUNDAY SCHOOL
Baptism is not a condition of attending Sunday School. No
child is every turned away because he or she is not
baptized.


4. TO PROTECT OUR CHILD FROM GOING TO HELL IF HE OR SHE SHOULD DIE
This thinking is not the message of the Christian gospel.
Any God who condemned children simply because they
were unbaptized would not be the God of Jesus Christ!

 
5. SO OUR CHILD CAN BE MARRIED IN THE CHURCH
WHEN THE TIME COMES

In the United Church of Canada baptism is not a prerequisite
for marriage in the Church. You should also
realize that whether your child wishes to marry as a
Christian or not will be his/her own decision when the time
comes.


6. TO SAVE OUR CHILD THE EMBARRASSMENT OF BEING
BAPTIZED WHEN OLDER

Baptism should never be an embarrassment! If it is then its
proper meaning is not understood. Adult baptism is not
only the original form of Christian Baptism, it is a profoundly
significant experience for the person who decides on his or
her own to be a Christian.


7. BECAUSE WE BELIEVE IN GOD
Christians are not the only ones who believe in God. So do
Jews and Muslims. Christian Baptism is only for those who
will follow Jesus Christ in the community of his Church.


8. BECAUSE IT IS A TRADITION IN OUR FAMILY
Some families have a tradition of baptism without any
active commitment to Christ and his Church. If this is the
case, then the meaning of baptism has been lost and the
sacrament is being abused.


9. THE GRANDPARENTS WOULD BE UPSET IF OUR CHILD
WAS NOT BAPTIZED
It is difficult for us, even as adults, to deal with parental
pressure. However, it is you, the child’s parents, and not
the grandparents, who must give him or her a Christian
upbringing if baptized. The decision must be yours, no
matter what others think or feel.


10. TO OFFICIALLY GIVE OUR CHILD A NAME
Your child officially receives his or her name when the birth
is registered with the civil authorities. This is NOT what
Baptism is for.


11. BECAUSE THE REST OR OUR CHILDREN ARE BAPTIZED
AND WE CAN’T HAVE ONE LEFT OUT
If the rest of your family is already a part of the worshipping
congregation, then indeed you cannot “leave this one out”.
However, if this is not the case, then in a very real sense,
they have all been “left out”; and there is every good
reason to avoid one more misuse of Baptism. Baptism is
always baptism into a community of faith. It presupposes
subsequent involvement with the community of faith.


12. TO GIVE OUR CHILD A GOOD START
If you follow through on the promises you will take at the
Baptism of your child, then you will indeed give him or her
“a good start”. However, the ceremony on its own without
the follow-through would only be a “false start”.


If you are presently at a loss for good reasons for the baptism of
your child but still want to pursue the matter, we encourage you to
begin to attend Sunday Worship, if you haven’t already and make
this a regular family habit. It will help you as you seek to grow in
your faith and to know the full life God wants for you.


Feel free to contact the Ministers regarding any questions you may
have.  They will be more than happy to assist you.