In the Anglican Church many people get baptised when they are babies. However, sometimes Adults that have had no previous connection with Christianity, on coming to faith, come to baptism as sign of new life in Christ.
Baptism is called a ‘sacrament’ meaning that it is something that God commands us to do. In the same way that the Eucharist (Holy Communion) is a sacrament for Jesus commanded “Do this in memory of me.” (Luke 22:19)
There are several ways to understand baptism. It is:
The word ‘baptism’ comes from the Greek word meaning to dip or immerse in water. During the service of baptism the priest will pour water over the person being baptised or plunge them under it.
A Christian is someone who identifies with Jesus Christ. In the Bible Saint Paul talks about baptism as being ‘clothed with the life of Christ himself’ (Galatians 3:27) The language symbolizes the stripping off of the clothes of sin (old habits) and putting on new clothes of Christ. (Colossians 3:9-10) Therefore baptism is an outward sign that a person belongs to God’s family. At baptism the whole church declares “We welcome you into the fellowship of faith; we are children of the same heavenly Father; we welcome you!”
Baptism is the sign of a new beginning. It marks the beginning of your membership within the worldwide Church and being united to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. All the baptised are asked to ‘die’ to our old sinful self and to grow up as a new child of God in the light of Jesus Christ. Jesus promised all who will follow him eternal life. (John 3:16)
Another name for baptism is christening (being made a Christian) In the early days of Christianity baptism was normally intended for adults and was performed at Easter time. Jesus called his death on the cross and resurrection a baptism. By our baptism we are buried with him (Jesus) and as Christ was raised from death we too are raised to new life by the power and presence of The Holy Spirit who comes to live and dwell within us gradually changing us and transforming our lives as we become more Christ-like. As the church grew and began to reach many parts of the world it became necessary to baptise whole households into the Christian faith (parents, children & slaves).
Today, many parents choose to raise their children under the covering of baptism in the belief that as they grow into adults they will one day choose to renew those promises for themselves. The Anglican Church calls this Confirmation.
Where young children are concerned, parents are asked to choose godparents for their children. Godparents are people who themselves are baptised Christians that the parents ask to help them with the responsibility of raising them as believers and followers of Christ. A responsible godparent is someone that will continue to pray for the well-being and blessing of both parents and the child they make promises for.
In baptism, God calls us out of darkness into his marvelous light.
To follow Christ means dying to sin and rising to new life with him.
Therefore I ask:
Do you reject the devil and all rebellion against God?
I reject them.
Do you renounce the deceit and corruption of evil?
I renounce them.
Do you repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbour?
I repent of them.
Do you turn to Christ as Saviour?
I turn to Christ.
Do you submit to Christ as Lord?
I submit to Christ.
Do you come to Christ, the way, the truth and the life?
I come to Christ.
As Vicar of All Saints Church, I would be delighted to meet you and discuss baptism with you; please do get in touch. I would encourage you if you have not done so to visit us at any 10.15am service over a number of weeks to allow us an opportunity to get to know you and for you to experience Christian worship and fellowship and to meet the family in which you are choosing to belong. The promises above should be taken seriously and your godparents carefully chosen. To become a friend and follower of Christ requires a genuine desire to worship regularly and faithfully among the people of God who will share in your joy, pray for you and delight in your company. We are all on this journey of faith together and there will often be times when we have more questions than answers. That is perfectly fine and we welcome people that are exploring faith and understanding and trust that you will meet us as generously as we will greet you.
Reverend Max Osborne.