The Ritual Of Baptism
The sacrament of baptism is available to everyone, infants and adults. In the United Church baptism is an initiation into the church and into a particular community of faith. Therefore we require that at least one parent is an active participant in the life of the congregation.
We typically offer baptism four times per year, in spring, summer and fall.
Some frequently asked questions:
- There are many popular understandings of the meaning of baptism that do not reflect our understanding of what is happening at baptism. For example, the following are three understandings of baptism which we think seriously limit the deeper meaning of the sacrament:
- Some think that the soul of an unbaptized baby will end up in limbo or purgatory. We don’t believe this. We do believe that all babies are blessed, known and loved by God whether or not they are baptized.
- Some want to baptize their babies so that they will be “exposed” to religion, and then later in life be able to make their minds up for themselves. Scientific research shows that children model their parents attitudes and behaviours. If they see their parents participating in a church community, then they will learn to value this experience for themselves. The only way to expose your children to religion is to model the spiritual path.
- Finally, for many baptism is a way of carrying on a family tradition. This is a family tradition we want to support, but the only way the tradition will continue to have meaning is through the commitment of the parents to a life of faith within a faith community.
By way of preparation, we ask that you attend a session with the Minister, plus attendance at church. Childcare is available. We will discuss the meaning of baptism, the vision of Canadian Memorial Church, and the meaning of the vows you will make during the baptism.
These are the questions you will be asked at the baptism:
- Do you trust in God: sacred creative impulse who has been made known in Jesus, Word made flesh, to reconcile and make new and who works in us and others by Spirit?
- Do you say “yes” to the call of the Christ to evolve with God, self, neighbour and earth, and thereby to realize the Kingdom of God?
- Will you join in ministry with your brothers and sisters here at Canadian Memorial, living out our Purpose, Vision, and Value by offering your distinctive gifts to this community and beyond?
These questions are asked in the presence of the congregation, who themselves are asked,
- Do you promise to support and nurture this child and help him/her take his/her place within the mission and witness of Christ’s church?
As you can see, baptism has its most profound meaning when it reflects the intention of the parents to be active in the life of a congregation, and in their own Christian development.
If you have questions or want to explore the sacred ritual of baptism contact Minister Beth Hayward, 604-731-3101 ext 1.