Baptism

For more information on baptism, please call the church.

What is baptism?

Baptism is a gift from God. There is nothing that we can do to earn, deserve, or purchase baptism. It is first of all a sign that God, in Christ, has done all that is necessary to redeem us. The mystery of faith is that God’s act of self-giving is offered to us freely, long before we begin to recognize, want, or understand it.

Baptism is initiation into the household of God; a new family relationship is formed. The promise of God’s faithfulness supports us even while we are infants in the faith. Our age at baptism is not significant. Whether we are baptised as infants or adults, we are infants in the faith, called to grow and mature into full stature with Christ.

What happens in baptism?

In baptism we acknowledge our union with Christ in his death and resurrection. Baptism is a recognition that who we are now is not who we are meant to be. Sin has power over us, we naturally seek to make our life apart from the one who created us. We thus need the deep cleansing and renewal that only God can effect in us. Baptism is a recognition that in Christ we are cleansed, forgiven, healed, reborn.

In baptism we are joined to the body of Christ, the church. We are anointed with the Spirit and appointed to serve Christ and one another in the world. The implications of baptism for a life of discipleship should not be minimized or sentimentalized. Baptism is the beginning of a new life in the world where ethical, social, and political decisions are made in the light of our response to God in Christ. Baptism is not a protection from the world but an initiation into the love and justice by which God seeks to redeem the world.

How is baptism conducted?

Baptism is a public act, and takes place as part of the regular service of worship.

We would like to have our baby baptised. Must we be members of Leaside Presbyterian Church? Or of any church?

It is required that at least one parent be baptised and a professing member of the Christian church. Usually membership is within the church in which the baby is baptised. As baptism is a reception of the baby into the fellowship of a church community, that fellowship is enacted through the prayer of the congregation and encouragement of the child. It is not possible to fulfil this responsibility when parents and children are not an active part of the local faith community.

At what age should a baby be baptised?

Within the Presbyterian Church in Canada we practice both adult and infant baptism. In other words, there is no age limit.

I was never baptised as a child. What do I have to do to be baptised as an adult?

All who profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour may be baptised. Speak to the minister, who will engage in greater detail the material on baptism found on this website. Baptism is a public act. This means that there are those from the community of faith who will witness the baptism and affirm and welcome the newly baptised person in Christ’s name.

The Invitation

The invitation announces briefly the purpose of baptism and invites all present to consider the benefits of the sacrament, giving thanks for their own gift of baptism.

The Presentation

An elder of the congregation accompanies those to be baptised to the baptismal font.

Renunciation and Affirmation

The renunciations and affirmations, adapted from an ancient liturgy, remind all participants that the repentance required at baptism, as in the whole of the Christian journey, is both a turning away from evil and a turning to Christ. It is an act which is both individual and communal.

The Act of Baptizing

The use of water in the name of the triune God is the central and essential act in the sacrament of baptism. Water is poured or sprinkled to signify the washing away of sin and the start of new life in Christ. This means that we do not live our life as we see fit. It means that we allow God to live and move in our lives.

The Triune Names

Baptism is celebrated in the “the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).

Naming

Only the given or Christian names are used in the act of baptising. The family name is not used. The naming of God and the personal name of the baptised point to the covenant that is established between God and each person who is received into the community of the new covenant.

The Blessing

The one baptised is blessed by the minister in God’s name.

“May the Spirit of God dwell in you and uphold you, now and forever. AMEN.”

The Aaronic Blessing:

“The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
the LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace”
(Numbers 6:24-26).

Declaration and Welcome

The newly baptised persons are declared to be a children of God and disciples of Christ.