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What is Baptism?
In the sacrament of Baptism you as parents are thanking God for his gift of life, and have decided to start your child on a journey of faith, and ask the Church for its support.
Baptism is the beginning of a journey of faith which starts by turning towards Christ and becoming a member of the body of Christ through the local and worldwide church. In this sacrament we see a visible sign of God’s love, and as that love is publicly acknowledged showing that we all need to turn away from evil and make as new start with Christ
When did Baptism Start?
Jesus himself was baptised in the river Jordan by John. This was a turning point in his life, as we are told in the beginning of St. Mark’s gospel. Jesus then told his disciples to baptise others as a sign that they had turned away from their old way of life and begun a new life as Christ’s disciples, members of his body.
Baptism often took place in a river: new Christians were dipped under the water, making their death to an old way of life, and lifted up again as a sign of new birth. Today in most churches a “Font” (the word means Springs of water) is used is which holds the water which is used to pour on the Childs head.
Decisions & Promises
When you bring your child for baptism, you will be asked to publicly declare on behalf of your child that you believe in God and that you will bring your child up to follow Jesus.
You will be asked to answer on behalf of your child, that you have decided to turn away from everything which is sinful and to turn instead towards Christ. These declarations which are made by the parents and Godparents are made in front of the church congregation. The Christian community will promise to support you and pray for you and your child as they grow in the faith.
In the Baptism service you will be asked the following questions
The baptism of its new members is an occasion of great joy for the Christian Church. In this sacrament, we are reborn as God’s children, and made followers of Christ, members of his body, the Church, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven. Will you accept this things for your child?
In asking for N to be baptized, you are accepting the responsibility of bringing him/her up as a Christian. In caring for him/her, will you help him/her to keep God’s commandments by loving God and neighbours as Christ has taught us? Will you pray for him/her, and draw him/her by your own example into the community of faith?
With the help of God, we will.
The Priest address the godparents:
Will you support and help N’s parents in doing these things?
With the help of God we will.
What happens in a Baptism Service
Your Child will be welcomed into the church , in turn the church promise to support and pray for you and your child.
The Priest will make sure you know where to sit and when you need to move. Some parts of the service will be for the whole congregation to join in, some will be for you and the godparents. The actual Baptism takes place around the font, and you and the godparents gather with the priest.
As you present your child for baptism the priest will explain what baptism is about and ask if you and the godparents are willing to accept the responsibilities which you will have.
Then your child will be signed the sign of the cross (which is explained about later). Then you make the affirmation of faith and baptismal covenant/promise which were discussed in the earlier section.
The water is then blessed by the priest and then your child is actually baptised. After this your child is anointed with oil and a lighted candle is given.
As you can see during the baptism a variety of symbols are used:
The sign of the Cross the priest will make the sign of the cross of on your child’s forehead. This is like an invisible badge to show that Christians are united with Christ and must be never ashamed to stand up for their faith.