Baptism

…for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
~ Galatians 3:26-28

 
According to The Book of Common Prayer, “Holy Baptism is the sacrament by which God adopts us as his children and makes us members of Christ’s Body, the Church, and inheritors of the kingdom of God.” In it, we celebrate the gift of God’s grace and love freely given to us as we are incorporated into the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ through water and the Holy Spirit. Through Baptism, we initiate and welcome individuals—children and adults–into our community of the Church. This community is the means by and through which we are shaped and supported on our faith journey as followers of Jesus. We are baptized for life, growing in Christ’s grace and love together with God’s help. The bond which God establishes in Baptism is indissoluble wherein we are marked, claimed, and made Christ’s own forever.

The Episcopal Church teaches that infants, children and adults may be baptized. Baptismal vows are made on behalf of infants or young children by their parents and sponsors. Older children and adults make their own promises. Because baptism is the outward and visible action that connects a person to God in a covenant relationship, it belongs in public worship, rather than private ceremony. As such, baptisms are offered in the context of the Holy Eucharist. At the service, members of the congregation renew their own baptismal vows and welcome the newly baptized into the community of faith, promising to support and guide the individual into a deeper relationship with Christ.

Requesting Holy Baptism

St. Paul’s administers the Sacrament of Holy Baptism on the feast days recommended in the Book of Common Prayer that are most strongly associated with the Resurrection of Christ: All Saints’ Day in the fall, the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord in January, at the Great Vigil of Easter in the spring, and the Day of Pentecost in the early summer. In addition to these four feast days, baptism is also offered during the annual visitation of a diocesan bishop, and if needed, can be offered at least once during the long gap between Pentecost and All Saints’ Day.

An application must be completed for each baptismal candidate and returned at least six weeks prior to the baptism date CLICK HERE FOR APPLICATION. Upon receipt of your application, the Rev. Gwynn Crichton, Associate Rector for Pastoral Care, will contact you to confirm dates, discuss the process, and answer any questions you may have.

Baptism Preparation

For Infants and Children:

If you wish your child to be baptized, participation in a 2-hour Baptism Preparation Workshop led by the clergy is required for sponsors, including parents and godparents. (Each candidate must be sponsored by one or more baptized persons. Sponsors of infants present their candidates and make promises on their behalf to nurture them in the Christian faith.)

The Baptism Preparation Workshop fulfills the charge in The Book of Common Prayer which states that “parents and godparents are to be instructed in the meaning of baptism, in their duties to help the new Christians grow in the knowledge and love of God, and in their responsibilities as members of his Church.”

We meet from 10 a.m. until noon on Saturdays prior to the Sunday Baptism date. Parents and godparents will have the opportunity to explore the history and meaning of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, study the liturgy, reflect on their own baptismal identities, and meet other baptismal candidates and their families. Baptism rehearsal occurs during the Saturday preparation workshop prior to each baptism at St. Paul’s.

There is special age-appropriate preparation for children who are old enough to speak for themselves (approximately 4 years and older).

For Youth and Adults:

Youth (ages 12-18) are prepared for Baptism concurrent with Confirmation by staff and volunteers in our youth ministry program. Adults who desire to be Baptized are prepared by the clergy and staff for during the season of Lent. Youth and adults are traditionally baptized at the Great Vigil of Easter as were the new converts in the early church.

2021–2022 Holy Baptism Schedule

November 7, 2021 |  All Saints’ Day @ 10 a.m. | Prep class: Saturday, September 18, 10 a.m. until noon OR Saturday, November 6, 10 a.m. until noon
January 9, 2022 | The First Sunday after the Epiphany: Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord @ 10 a.m. | Prep class: January 8, 2022, 10 a.m. until noon
April 16, 2022 | The Great Vigil of Easter @ 7 pm (teenagers and adult candidates only) | Prep class: Those wishing to be baptized at this service take part in a multi-part class over the course of Lent.
June 19, 2022 | The Day of Pentecost @ 10 a.m. | Prep class: June 18th, 10 a.m. until Noon

For more information about being baptized at St. Paul’s, please contact the Rev. Gwynn Crichton, Associate Rector for Pastoral Care (by e-mail or (804) 545-5415) or Linda Willis, Director of Children and Family Program (by e-mail or (804) 502-8566).