…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
WHAT IS HOLY BAPTISM?
Baptism is the sacrament through which we initiate and welcome individuals of all ages into the church as followers of Jesus Christ.
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. Baptism binds us to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ through water and the Holy Spirit. Baptism also binds us to others in the church. Our faith community shapes and supports us as we follow Jesus in our daily lives. The bond that God establishes in baptism is indissoluble; 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 a private ceremony. Therefore, 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
Baptism is typically offered on Sundays that prominently celebrate the resurrection of Christ as well as during the annual visit of our diocesan bishop.
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 is a serious life decision. We offer age-appropriate preparation and instruction or all individuals who are to be baptized, whether infants and children or adults.
FOR INFANTS AND CHILDREN
If you wish your child to be baptized, you and the child’s godparents are required to participate in a two-hour Baptism Preparation Workshop. This is led by the clergy. Children are sponsored by one or more baptized persons who, along with the church, promise to nurture them in their Christian faith.
The Baptism Preparation Workshop fulfills the charge in The Book of Common Prayer 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. The two-hour Baptism Preparation Workshop is scheduled to accommodate the availability of the parents and godparents and can take place as late as the Saturday before the baptism. Parents and godparents 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. 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 during confirmation, which is led by staff and volunteers in our youth ministry program. Adults who desire to be baptized are prepared by the clergy and staff 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.
2023–2024 HOLY BAPTISM SCHEDULE
- November 5, 2023 | All Saints’ Day @ 10 a.m.
- January 7, 2024 | The First Sunday after the Epiphany: Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord @ 10 a.m.
- March 30, 2024 | The Great Vigil of Easter @ 8 pm
- May 19, 2024 | The Day of Pentecost @ 10 a.m.
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).