Baptism is one of the two sacraments recognized by the United Church of Christ, the other being Communion (The Lord’s Supper). A sacrament can be defined as “an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace.” It is a publicly demonstrated symbol or ritual, which reminds us that God reaches out to us in love. In a sacrament, something is set aside to be “holy” or “sacred” – water in baptism, or bread and juice in Communion.
What Is Baptism?
Baptism is a joyous celebration of new birth, God’s free gift, and the visible recognition of becoming a member of the Christian church. In the baptismal ceremony, which usually takes place before the congregation, a person becomes a member of the Church of Jesus Christ and is accepted into the church family, the community of faith. Baptism signifies that God has given us the gifts necessary for a meaningful life.
Planning for a Baptism
The request for baptism may be made through Pastor Chris or the church office. Sufficient time should be allowed for counseling and preparation. The office will send you a form, needing the following information for the baptismal certificate and the church records: full name, birth date and place, full names of parents, sibling(s) names and ages, names of Godparent/Sponsors.
If you are a parent/guardian seeking baptism for your child, you should understand its meaning for the child and your own spiritual responsibility toward your child and the church. This includes providing a Christian atmosphere of teaching, example and prayer in your home, bringing your child to church activities and church school classes, and participating in the life of the church in order that you, too, can grow as a responsible Christian parent.
At What Age?
Children may be baptized at any time the parent/guardian(s) desire; however, it is customary that it be done in the first few months after the baby is born. However, baptism may occur at any time of life. This is a celebration of being in community with the Christian Church Universal.
Ideally, baptisms take place in the Meeting House during regular worship services, with typical exception of the first Sunday of the month since that is the day the Meeting House is set up for Communion. Since baptism means that the child or adult is being received into the household of God, baptism during the service establishes a mutual bond between the congregation and the individual. In the case of infants, it offers the congregation an opportunity to share in the joy of the family on the occasion of the birth of their child. Any baptism which, because of unusual circumstances, is not held during a regular service, should include a representative of the congregation, in addition to the Pastor.
For further information or to schedule a baptism, please contact Pastor Chris or call our Office Manager at 860-678-0488.