Baptisms and celebrations of new births / adoptions.
Congratulations if the stork has just delivered a new bundle of joy to your home! Your life will never be the same (and we mean that in the best possible way!).
Seriously, though, if you have a new child in your life, whether adopted or born to you, the arrival of a child is a moment to celebrate and is also often a time when the big questions of life loom rather large. That is often a time when one considers spiritual matters more carefully and deeply, and the idea of baptizing the child comes up.
At St. Paul’s, we would be honoured to help you celebrate the occasion, with a baptism, dedication, or naming ceremony. What’s the difference?
Baptism is a Christian rite in which the child (or adult) is dedicated to God and welcomed into the community of faith. In the Protestant tradition (which St. Paul’s follows) baptism is the rite by which a person becomes a Christian, that is, a member of the holy catholic church. Parents of the child make solemn promises to bring the child up in a Christian household, to encourage the child as a disciple of Christ’s, and to active participation in the community of faith (i.e, the church).
Adults being baptized make these commitments for themselves. Baptism normally takes place within the context of a regular Sunday service, since the community of faith (the congregation) makes a commitment to support and encourage both the child and his / her parents.
A dedication or naming ceremony is celebration of the newborn child and is a formal recognition that a new person has come into the world. A major part of the celebration is a ‘thanksgiving’ for the child. Parents, other family members, and friends may make promises for the well being of the child, and to support the new parents. The ceremony is usually a private one, and does not take place in the context of a regular worship service, and there would be no baptism ritual (i.e, the sprinkling of water). The minister, however, would be delighted to offer a blessing on the child, the parents, and on the family as a whole.
To find out more about child baptism, please don’t hesitate to contact one of the ministers at St. Paul’s.
If you were never baptized as a child, but have felt that you would like to be baptized, we at St. Paul’s would be delighted to help.
Baptism is one of only two sacraments in the Protestant church (the other being Eucharist, or Communion), and is the formal ritual in which a person becomes a member of the church. In adult baptism, you are asked to profess your faith and commit yourself to following the way of Jesus. In The United Church of Canada, we use A New Creed as our statement of faith and our guide to living into our faith in Christ. You can find out more about The New Creed here.
An essential aspect of baptism and joining the church is your commitment to the life and growth of the community of faith, that is, the congregation here at St. Paul’s. That happens in many different ways, and is best in the ways that suit your gifts, talents, and personal goals.
Adult baptism, like child baptism, normally takes place during a regular Sunday morning worship, with the congregation present. As you make your commitment to the church, they too, will make promises of encouragement, support, and friendship to you.
If you’d like to have friends or family present with you at your Baptism, they would be most welcome. If they have been important companions in your faith journey, they can also participate by making promises to continue their support and encouragement as your explore your faith more deeply.