Baptism at Holy Cross

Bishop Arthur Walmsley prepares to chrismate a newly baptized infant.

Bishop Arthur Walmsley prepares to chrismate a newly baptized infant.

Often parents of new babies or young children in the area inquire about baptism. The Episcopal Church baptizes infants and children as well, of course, as adults. Holy Baptism is a sacrament of commitment to the life of Christ. It constitutes membership in the Church, the Household of God, and entitles one to receive Holy Communion and the other sacraments. In the case of children who are too young to make the baptismal commitment on their own, this is done for them by their parents and godparents.

It is misleading to think of baptism as “saving” a person in some sort of mechanical way, like buying a ticket to heaven. God does not operate like that. What does save us in living the baptismal life. The baptismal liturgy can no more be separated from the baptismal life than a wedding service can be separated from the married life that follows. Baptismal life is a life of commitment which in the Episcopal Church involves a specific set of covenant promises having to do with discipleship to Jesus Christ and the living of a Christian lifestyle.

Because of the seriousness of the commitment involved in baptism, we expect that parents will establish themselves as active members of the Holy Cross family (or, if they are from out-of-town, another church) and receive instruction in their duties as baptismal sponsors prior to scheduling baptism. Except in emergencies, Holy Baptism in the Episcopal Church is celebrated as part of the principal Sunday Eucharist, normally on one of the “baptismal feasts” during the year: the Easter Vigil, the Day of Pentecost, All Saints’ Sunday and the Baptism of Christ.

We’re always glad to explore baptism with parents. Why is this something they’re interested in? What is their own faith? What are their dreams and their goals for their child? How does the baptismal life fit in with these? And we especially welcome adults who have not been baptized but now want to explore making that commitment. Working with them is a special joy for us. Please get in touch with the Vicar for more information.

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