Baptism is a ritual beginning with putting off the old, renouncing sin and the evil powers of the world, and pledging to follow Christ’s way of compassion and peace and commissions us to use our gifts to strengthen the church and transform the world.
To become a Christian is to receive a new identity in Christ. God now claims you and Christ instructs you. Baptism celebrates becoming that new person and this ritual is available for infant, child, teen, or adult.
Baptism is the beginning of a lifelong journey of faith. It makes no difference whether one is baptized as an adult or as a child; we all start on that journey at baptism. For the child, the journey begins in the nurturing community of the church, where he or she learns what it means that God loves you. At the appropriate time, the child will make his or her first confession of faith in the ritual the church traditionally calls confirmation. Most often, this is at adolescence or at the time when the person begins to take responsibility for his or her own decisions.
Christians understand the baptismal covenant in light of Jesus’ baptism. At Jesus’ baptism, God said, “This is my son.” While Jesus’ relation to God as Son is unique, for Christians baptism means that God has also chosen us as daughters and sons, and knows us intimately as a parent. So the most important things about us, our true identity, is that we are now sons and daughters of God.
From the earliest times, children and infants were baptized and included in the church. “Let the little children come to me…for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs” (Mark 10:14). Baptism, as a means of grace, signifies God’s initiative in the process of salvation. The baptism of children and their inclusion in the church before they can respond with their own confirmation of faith is a vivid and compelling witness to God’s grace.
If you would like to discuss baptism for your child or for yourself, please contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-774-4355 and we will be happy to answer any questions you might have and share more information with you.