Baptism – Infants & Children
The practice of baptizing infants and young children derives from the baptism of adults. The Church does not simply baptize any child, but those who are the children (or in the care) of at least one baptized, Christian parent or guardian. The Church baptizes those who will grow up within the life of the Church.
St. Mary & St. Bartholomew’s has the following requirements for the parents and godparents of infants and young children whom they wish to present for Holy Baptism:
Baptism Preparation involves taking two 5 week courses:
Back to Basics Part 1. This is required for the parents of children who have been or will soon be baptized. Godparents are required to attend. We will explore the basics of the Christian Faith with one session specifically focusing on what the Scriptures as well as what our Prayer Book and Anglican tradition teach us about this Sacrament of New Birth.
• At least one of the parents must be a baptized member of the church and has been attending regular Sunday worship for at least six months prior to the Baptism classes.
• Godparents must be baptized Christians and should be active, mature, faithful members of the Christian Church.
• Parents and godparents must be able to affirm in all good faith and for themselves the promises made on behalf of the child.
• Parents (and godparents, if they are able) are required to attend the Baptism Preparation Class for Parents offered quarterly and take place on Sunday.
• If the parents are not members of the Parish, but for some pressing reason wish their child to be baptized, they must demonstrate comparable membership in another Parish. A letter or a phone call from a member of the clergy of that parish is required in these cases, and the final decision is made by the Rector.
Baptism – Adults
The Sacrament of Holy Baptism is for those who express their desire to be baptized in response to the Gospel.
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)
All adults who desire to be Baptized (and/or Confirmed) must attend two 4-week courses: Backs to Basics 101 & 201. Those classes culminate with the visit of the diocesan bishop either near the end of the Fall or Spring.
The Sacrament of Holy Baptism is a sacrament of initiation not simply into the Body of Christ but into a local church family. It is, therefore, vital that those who wish to be baptized at St. Mary & St. Bartholomew’s be connected participants of this community.
Accordingly, the adult or older child, or at least one of the parents of a young child, must be a member of this parish who has supported the life of the parish by regular, Sunday attendance for at least six months. To become a member, one must participate in the Back to Basics 101 course and either be confirmed or received into the Anglican Church, or, if one is already an Anglican, have their membership transferred to this parish.
Baptisms that are not administered within a celebration of the Holy Eucharist on a Sunday or the other dates listed are reserved for situations of great, pastoral necessity at the discretion of the clergy.
Confirmation is derived from the Latin word “confirmare”, which means “to strengthen.” Described along with Baptism by St. Cyprian (d. 258) as the “double sacraments of initiation,” Confirmation is the completion of the initiation begun in Baptism. The sacrament is administered by the bishop of the diocese with the laying on of hands (often accompanied by anointing with chrism), and an invocation of the Holy Spirit for strengthening and the gifts of grace. If Baptism is the sacrament that offers the grace of justification, Confirmation is an outpouring of sanctifying grace.
Almighty and everliving God, who hast vouchsafed to regenerate these thy servants by Water and the Holy Ghost, and hast given unto them forgiveness of all their sins: Strengthen them, we beseech thee, O Lord, with the Holy Ghost the Comforter, and daily increase in them thy manifold gifts of grace; the spirit of wisdom and understanding; the spirit of counsel and ghostly strength; the spirit of knowledge and true godliness; and fill them, O Lord, with the spirit of thy holy fear, now and forever. Amen. (The Book of Common Prayer – 1662)
For Christians who are baptized as infants or young children, Confirmation also serves a number of other purposes:
A public commitment made in Baptism, which includes:- A renunciation of the world, the flesh, and the devil- A commitment to follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior – A commitment to the basics of the Christian faith, summarized in the Apostles’ Creed
A mature, public affirmation of their faith and commitment to Jesus Christ
A public rite of transition from childhood to adult maturity in the Church.
For many in the Anglican Communion, Confirmation serves as the time when a Christian begins to receive Holy Communion.
The following quotation from a sermon by a fifth-century bishop (Faustus of Riez) provides a helpful analogy for understanding the relationship between Baptism and Confirmation:
Military discipline requires that when an Emperor has received a man into the number of his soldiers, he should not only put his mark upon the man but also should equip him with sufficient arms for battle. So in the case of the baptized man, this benediction [i.e., confirmation] is protection. You have found a soldier, find him the implements of warfare…And so the Holy Ghost, who came down upon the waters of baptism…bestows at the font absolutely all that is necessary to restore innocence: in confirmation, he grants development for progress in grace.
The unity of Baptism and Confirmation is seen most clearly at the baptism of adults, who are confirmed as soon after receiving baptism as possible (ideally this occurs in the same liturgy).
SIXTH GRADE CONFIRMATION
The sixth-grade year serves as the time when students are prepared for Confirmation in what we call New Beginnings Parts 1 & 2. If a student has not yet received baptism, they will be encouraged to do so at the Easter Vigil that year, so that they can also receive Confirmation at the spring or fall visitation by the diocesan bishop. For more information, please contact the Rector or the church office.
All adults who desire to be baptized must attend two 4 week courses, “Back to Basics Part 101- The Basics of Church Membership and, Back to Basics 201 – The Basics of Spiritual Growth.” These short courses are required for all adults who are seeking Baptism and/or Confirmation.
For more information, please contact the Rector or the church office.