About the Sacrament
Holy Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ's Body the Church. The bond which God establishes in Baptism is indissoluble. (Book of Common Prayer page 298)In this sacrament, “God adopts us as his children and makes us members of Christ’s Body, the church, and inheritors of the Kingdom of God .” In baptism we are united with Christ in his death and resurrection, born into God’s family, the Church, forgiven our sins, and given new life in the Holy Spirit. At Baptism
Reading and Reflections
In the Book of Common Prayer:
Occasions for Holy Baptism
Holy Baptism is usually administered four times a year on the feasts recommended by the Book of Common Prayer, in the context of the Holy Eucharist and in the presence of the faith community. The four occasions are
- Easter, (March or April)
- The Day of Pentecost (May or June)
- All Saints’ Day or the Sunday after All Saints’ Day (November)
- Upon the feast of the Baptism of our Lord (January)
- It may also be administered when a bishop is present. (Book of Common Prayer, page 312)
At St. Philip’s we have changed the baptismal calendar to better accommodate the schedule of our families.
Since the first century, the church has baptized infants under certain conditions; that is, when their parents are active members of the church and thus the child will be raised in the “household of faith”, sharing in the repentance, and the ongoing faith and practice of the community.
Therefore the baptism of an infant should take place in a setting of Christian commitment such as:
- When one or both parents are active, worshiping, canonical members of the congregation.
- When a previously inactive family has demonstrated a Christian commitment by sharing the worship and life of the congregation for at least six months.
- When in the case of a family not otherwise actively connected with the Church, one or more of the godparents are active, worshiping members who are serious about their responsibility to see that the child will be nurtured in the community of Christian faith, and who have the active support of parents to do so. The godparent(s) should be prepared to bring the child for worship, instruction, and fellowship.
If an infant is not in such a setting, it is best to wait until the family is ready to fulfill the promises of sponsors or until the child can, in some way, make his or her own affirmations.
Before the baptism: Parents and godparents (sponsors) meet with the priest to discuss your intention to raise the child/ren in the Christian faith. Then the family including godparents will meet with the catechist(s) for a period of instruction on the meaning of the sacrament, their duties to help the new Christian grow in the knowledge and love of God, and in their responsibilities as a member of his Church.
Sponsors of infants, commonly called godparents, present their candidates, make promises in their own names, and also take vows on behalf of their candidates. Parents should be included among the godparents of their own children. Sponsors accept responsibility to support the candidate by prayer and example in the Christian life, to see that the child will be brought up within the Church to know Christ and to follow him.
All sponsors must be baptized Christians who regularly participate in the life of a congregation. At least one should be a member of this parish.
Conformed to Christ: Structures and Standards in Parish Development. Gallagher, Mann, Mann and Broadhead, Ascension Press, 1983.