Sacrament of Holy Baptism

 

Baptism Overview

Sponsors/Godparents

Baptism Vows - Adults

Baptism Vows - Infant and Children

Congregational Assent

Emergency Baptism

The Common Agreement on the Mutual Recognition of Baptism

I am interested in Baptism, what do I do next?

 

 

Brief Baptism Overiew

     Within the United Church of Christ there are two sacraments: Baptism and the Lord's Supper (or Holy Communion).

     The following description is excerpted from the UCC Book of Worship:

     A person is incorporated into the universal church, the body of Christ, through the sacrament of baptism.  The water, words, and actions of the sacrament are visible signs that convey the Christian's burial and resurrection with Jesus Christ (Romans 6:3-4).  The invocation of the Holy Spirit upon the water and upon the candidates for baptism is an affirmation that it is God who takes the initiative in the sacrament.  "Baptism is both God's gift and our human response to that gift."  It is "a sign and seal of our common discipleship.  Through baptism, Christians are brought into union with Christ, with each other and with the church of every time and place."
     In the United Church of Christ people may be baptized either as children/infants or adults.  Baptism with water and the Holy Spirit is the mark of their acceptance into the care of Christ's church, the sign and seal of their participation in God's forgiveness, and the beginning of their new growth into full Christian faith and life.
     When an infant or young child is baptized, adults (such as parents, guardians, elders, or sponsors) make promises to assume certain responsibilities for the Christian nurture of the baptized child.  Those who are baptized at an early age are given an opportunity in their youth to make a personal profession of faith through the Rite of Confirmation.

     In the United Church of Christ, an ordained minister officiates/administers the sacrament (or a minister licensed by the Association to do so), generally during the time of corporate worship.  There are exceptions, such as in an emergency baptism situation; please consult with the church pastor regarding questions about exceptions and exceptional situations.

 

 

 

Sponsors/Godparents

     Parents, in consultation with the pastor, may choose sponsors/Godparents for infants and young children who are to be baptized.  Other candidates for baptism may also be given this opportunity to have sponsors.  Sponsors or Godparents are not required for baptism, but they are encouraged to help provide wider intentional support for the baptized individual. 

     An elder of the church also serves as a witness to the sacrament, a representative of the church, and an assistant to the pastor. 

 

 

 

Baptismal Vows for Adults

     The following are the vows made by adults and older teens.

Question to the Candidate:  Do you desire to be baptized into the faith and family of Jesus Christ?
Candidate:  I do.

Question to the Sponsor(s):  Are you ready with God's help to guide and encourage by counsel and example, name(s) in prayer and with love, to follow the way of Jesus Christ?
Sponsor(s):  I am.

Question:  Do you renounce the powers of evil and desire the freedom of new life in Christ?
Candidate:  I do.


Question:  Do you profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior?
Candidate:  I do.

Question:  Do you promise, by the grace of God, to be Christ's disciple, to follow in the way of our Savior, to resist oppression and evil, to show love and justice, and to witness to the work and word of Jesus Christ as best you are able?
Candidate:  I promise, with the help of God.

Question:  Do you promise, according to the grace given you, to grow in the Christian faith and to be a faithful member of the church of Jesus Christ, celebrating Christ's presence and furthering Christ's mission in all the world?
Candidate:  I promise, with the help of God

 

Question:  Do you promise to participate in the life and mission of this family of God's people, sharing regularly in the worship of God and enlisting in the work of this local church as it serves this community and the world?
Candidate:  I promise, with the help of God.

 

 

 

Baptismal Vows for Infants & Children

     The following questions may be used when the candidates are unable to speak for themselves.  If both parent(s)/guardian(s) are taking the vows for the child, both should be baptized members in good standing of a Christian church, and at least one should be a member of St. Paul's UCC in Robesonia.  There are exceptions, such as in an emergency baptism situation; please consult with the pastor about possible exceptions.

Question:  Do you desire to have your child(ren) baptized into the faith and family of Jesus Christ?
Parent(s)/Guardian(s):  We do.


Question:  Will you encourage this child/these children to renounce the powers of evil and to receive the freedom of new life in Christ?

Parent(s)/Guardian(s) and Sponsor(s):  We will, with the help of God.

Question:  Will you teach this child/these children that he/she/they may be led to profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior?
Parent(s)/Guardian(s) and Sponsor(s):  We will, with the help of God.

Question:  Do you promise, by the grace of God, to be Christ's disciple(s), to follow in the way of our Savior, to resist oppression and evil, to show love and justice, and to witness to the work and word of Jesus Christ as best you are able?
Parent(s)/Guardian(s) and Sponsor(s):  We do, with the help of God.

Question:  Do you promise, according to the grace given you, to grow with this child/these children in the Christian faith, to help this child/these children to be a faithful member/faithful members of the church of Jesus Christ, by celebrating Christ's presence, by furthering Christ's mission in all the world, and by offering the nurture of the Christian church so that she/he/they may affirm her/his/their baptism?
Parent(s)/Guardian(s) and Sponsor(s):  We do, with the help of God.

 

 

 

Congregational Assent

     The "Congregational Assent" are the promises made by the congregation in support of the individual being baptized into the Christian church.

Question:  Jesus Christ calls us to make disciples of all nations and to offer them the gift of grace in baptism.  Do you, who witness and celebrate this sacrament, promise your love, support, and care to the one(s) about to be baptized, as he I she I they live(s) and grow(s) in Christ?
Congregation:  We promise our love, support, and care.

 

 

 

Emergency Baptism

     An emergency baptism is generally one in which the baptismal candidate is near death.  Most commonly this takes place when an unbaptized person is in the hospital or on hospice.  Ideally an ordained pastor would officiate [preferably the church pastor, but could also be the hospital chaplain (if a baptized Christian)], but if time is critically short in an emergency situation, any baptized Christian may offer baptism to another.

 

 

 

The Common Agreement on the Mutual Recognition of Baptism 

     The United Church of Christ is a partner in "The Common Agreement on the Mutual Recognition of Baptism."  The Common Agreement on the Mutual Recognition of Baptism is an ecumenical agreement in understanding, recognition, and practice in regard to baptism between the: Christian Reformed Church in North America; Presbyterian Church (USA); Reformed Church in America; Roman Catholic Church (USCCB); and United Church of Christ adopted in 2011.  As a member of the UCC and as an ecumenically minded and supportive congregation, our baptismal practices here at St. Paul's UCC reflect the practices of that agreement.

     Click on this The Common Agreement on the Mutual Recognition of Baptism link to read the signed document.

 

 

 

I am interested in Baptism, what do I do next?

Meet with the Pastor

     If you are interested in baptism for yourself or your child, please be in contact with the pastor.  The pastor will go over our theological understanding of baptism, review the vows, answer your questions, help you to plan a date, etc.

 

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