Baptism in the Christian tradition is a joyful initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body, the church. God establishes an abiding bond with each person in baptism. God adopts us, making us members of the church and inheritors of the Kingdom of God (BCP, pp. 298, 858). In baptism we are made sharers in the new life of the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness of sins. Baptism is the foundation for all future church participation and ministry.
Because baptism asks a congregation to do all in their power to support the persons baptized in living out their life in Christ, church membership is a requirement.
What can I expect?
The water of baptism may be administered by immersion or affusin (pouring) (BCP, p. 307). Each candidate for baptism in the Episcopal Church is to be sponsored by one or more baptized persons. Adults enter into the Baptismal Covenant for themselves, and parents and godparents do the same on behalf of young children.
Candidates are baptized “in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” and then marked on the forehead with the sign of the cross. The newly baptized is “sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism and marked as Christ’s own forever.”
At Baptism, we renounce Satan, repent of our sins, and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
When is Holy Baptism Administered?
Baptism is a public sacrament and is held during our regular Sunday services. Holy Baptism is reserved for the Easter Vigil, the Day of Pentecost, All Saints’ Day or the Sunday after All Saints’ Day, and the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord (the First Sunday after the Epiphany).
Why do Episcopalians Baptize Infants?
Holy Baptism is a gift given by the grace of God, and not merited by one’s acceptance or understanding of it. The Catechism notes that “Infants are baptized so that they can share citizenship in the Covenant, membership in Christ, and redemption by God.” The baptismal promises are made for infants by their parents or sponsors, “who guarantee that the infants will be brought up within the Church, to know Christ and be able to follow him” (BCP, pp. 858-859).
Adult candidates, parents, sponsors, and godparents should plan to gather with the officiating priest for one to two hours at a mutually convenient time before the Baptism, normally 10 a.m. on the day before, so the priest can offer instruction 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 the Church.
Participation in Baptismal Preparation is an absolute requirement.
Sponsors of adults and older children present their candidates and thereby signify their endorsement of the candidates and their intention to support them by prayer and example in their Christian life.
Sponsors of infants, commonly called godparents, present their candidates, make promises in their own names, and also take vows on behalf of their candidates. The gender of the sponsors or godparents is irrelevant, however, they must be baptized Christians.
Scheduling Holy Baptism
To schedule a Holy Baptism at St. Martin’s-in-the-Field, please complete the Child Baptism Form or Adult Baptism form. Follow directions on the form for submission which should be done at least 30 days before the anticipated date of Baptism. A member of the clergy will contact you to confirm the arrangements. Holy Baptism is administered without fees for services. However, gifts to St. Martin’s-in-the-Field are appropriate in thanksgiving to God for the candidate’s entry into new life in Christ.