The Sacrament of Baptism
It is the practice of the United Church to offer infant, child and/or adult baptism. We welcome all into our community at any age. In the case of infant baptism, the parents of the infant, before the congregation, agree to a series of statements about the beliefs of the United Church on behalf of their child. They also promise to encourage the child to seek full membership at an appropriate time. The members of the congregation also promise the parents that they will help to raise the child in a Christian community. The minister then places water on the candidate's head three times (expressing the trinity of God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit) and traces a cross on the person's forehead with water. Baptism by immersion is also an option for adults who request it. The individual receives symbols of their baptism in the form of a certificate and a candle.
The United Church believes that the sacrament of baptism is the first step in church membership, where the parents make a promise in faith on behalf of the infant and/or the adult makes a promise in faith, to follow Christ. A sacrament is something that helps us come close to God and helps God come close to us. It is our community hope that the child/adult will later confirm that promise of faith with the act of confirmation.
In the 1970s, the United Church reached an ecumenical agreement with the Presbyterian, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and Anglican churches in Canada that baptisms within these churches are mutually recognized as valid. Further to that, the United Church recognizes the validity of any baptism by another denomination that was performed with water and in the name of the trinity; Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.
(adapted from the United Church of Canada Website)
At Nashwaaksis United Church we require:
· A meeting(s) with the minister be arranged to discuss the meaning of baptism. If possible, dates for baptisms are grouped periodically throughout the liturgical year.
· Baptisms to take place during public worship. Small gatherings for baptisms, while not the norm, can be performed under various circumstances. Chair of Council and/or member(s) of the Worship Committee will be in attendance to represent the congregation.
· Adults, children and/or infants may be baptized at home or in hospital in special health circumstances.
· One or both parents must be member(s) of the United Church; otherwise the child would be sponsored by a member of the United Church.
· A service of blessing or dedication can be offered for families of adopted children.
(Revised October 2011)