Baptism at Parkwoods
Baptism is one of two sacraments celebrated in the United Church. The other, Communion, is also known as the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist. Both sacraments are, for the United Church, two ways in which we symbolize the visible presence of the Holy Spirit in our community life. They are also actions intimately linked with Jesus who was baptized and later in life celebrated the Passover with his disciples. The breaking of bread and sharing of wine at Passover became, for Christians, the second sacrament, Holy Communion. So what is baptism?
Baptism is a symbolic action that signifies the new life God gives us as we join the church community. It celebrates God’s initiative and our response. It is God’s “Yes” to us, and our “yes” to God. We understand this to be a Divine-human covenant.
Baptism uses water as a symbolic cleansing that signifies the acceptance of new life within the church family. The sacrament of baptism is the single rite of initiation into the Christian community, the church. As initiation into the Church, the Body of Christ, it is an act of welcoming, blessing and belonging.
The United Church offers baptism to all ages. We believe the gift of God’s love doesn’t depend on our ability to understand it, so we baptize people as infants right up through adulthood.
With children, instruction is given to parents or sponsors to equip them for the child’s Christian nurture. During the ceremony, everyone in the congregation pledges support for the child and his or her parents.
Baptism is not a requirement for God’s love. We believe people who die without baptism are in no way condemned, lost, or damned.
Baptism in the United Church is recognized by all denominations of the Christian church that practice infant baptism. Similarly, if people have already been baptized in another church, the United Church recognizes their baptism and welcomes them as Christians.
At Parkwoods baptism is celebrated during Sunday morning worship throughout the year. Whenever possible we accommodate the needs of those being baptized to ensure that family members and friends might also be present for the baptism. Speak with our minister as far in advance as possible. The minister will also meet with the parents of children to be baptized, as well as any adults to be baptized, at a time convenient to all involved but well ahead of the date of the baptism.
As a sacrament of the Church there is no fee charged for baptism.