Baptism at Trinity (Christian Initiation)
WHAT IS BAPTISM?
Holy Baptism is the sacrament by which God adopts us as His children and makes us members of Christ’s Body, the Church, and inheritors of the Kingdom of God.
WHEN ARE BAPTISMS HELD?
The Church has set aside five occasions for the sacrament of Holy Baptism. These are:
- The Easter Vigil (Evening before Easter – in the Spring)
- the Feast of Pentecost (The Sunday that occurs 50 days after Easter – late Spring)
- All Saints’ Day (November 1st) – or the Sunday that follows All Saints’,
- the Baptism of our Lord (Sunday after January 6th).
- Since the bishop is the chief sacramental official, it is also appropriate to have baptisms on the occasion of the bishop’s annual visit (varies).
It is requested that baptisms be reserved for these occasions. Baptisms may take place at other times during the year at the pastoral discretion of the priest.
WHAT IS INVOLVED IN BAPTISM?
Holy Baptism is accomplished through the making of solemn vows followed by the symbolic purification through water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Any Christian may baptize another in an emergency situation, but normally the service of Holy Baptism is celebrated by a priest or a bishop in the context of a service of Holy Eucharist on Sunday.
HOW DO I ARRANGE FOR A BAPTISM?
Download the Application that is available below. In the case of infants and young children, parents should contact the priest. In the case of adults and older children, the candidate should contact the priest directly. The priest is required to meet with the parents or candidate to discuss the meaning of the service, help choose sponsors, and set the date for the service.
WHAT IS A SPONSOR?
“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 god-parents, make promises in their own names, and also make vows on behalf of their candidates.” (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 298)
WHO MAY BE A SPONSOR?
Any Baptized Christian may sponsor a candidate. It is preferred that at least one sponsor be a baptized member of Trinity. In the case of children it is appropriate for at least one parent to be among the sponsors. In the case of adults, it is appropriate for a spouse to be among the sponsors. There is no maximum or minimum number of sponsors. (Traditionally, sponsors range from 1 to 4).
DO I HAVE TO BE RE-BAPTIZED TO JOIN THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH?
No. Baptism with water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is full membership into the Body of Christ (the Christian faith) – not a particular denomination. It cannot be, and should not be repeated. There are times, however, when a public affirmation of faith is appropriate, depending on the circumstances. Three rites are provided for in the Book of Common Prayer. These are: Confirmation, Reception, and Reaffirmation of Baptismal Vows. They are celebrated regionally or during a Bishop’s visit to the parish.
WHAT IS THE FEE FOR BAPTISM?
The administration of this Sacrament is a part of the pastoral ministry of the parish. No fee for the services of the clergy or the use of the church is expected. We hope that you will regularly participate in the life of the parish and honor your baptismal vows.
WHAT IF I AM UNSURE WHETHER OR NOT I HAVE BEEN BAPTIZED?
The Book of Common Prayer provides for this situation with a service for “conditional Baptism.”
Other questions? Please feel free to ask the priest about specific questions regarding Holy Baptism and other aspects of the Episcopal Church.
“Holy Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body, the Church” (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 298).
In the waters of baptism we are lovingly adopted by God into God’s family, which we call the Church, and given God’s own life to share and reminded that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ.