The Sacrament of Baptism
Baptism is one of two sacraments, or “sacred acts” that Jesus commanded his followers to observe, the other being the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
Baptism is the act of initiation into the Christian faith and into the Christian Church. It is not simply a blessing, but rather a welcoming into the family of faith and the first step in the journey that is the Christian life. It has little meaning if it is unrelated to a firm commitment to the ongoing life of Christian faith.
In the Presbyterian tradition, both children and adults may be baptized, though most Presbyterian parents choose to have their children baptized as infants. The meaning of the sacrament varies slightly between that of adults and that of infants.
In adult baptism, the theological emphasis is on the covenant commitment of the new believer, the one being baptized who makes answer to the questions of commitment. New adult members of the congregation who have never been baptized are normally baptized on the day they join the congregation.
In infant baptism, the emphasis is on God’s grace offered to us in the sacrament and the covenant commitment of the parents and congregation who answer the baptismal questions and promise to nurture the child being baptized in the Christian faith.
The Ecumenical Nature of Baptism
Baptism is a Christian, not a denominational, sacrament. This is to say, should a person join a denomination – Protestant or Roman-Catholic – other than the one in which their baptism took place, they are not baptized again. Baptism occurs but once in life.
The Time and Place of Baptism
Baptism, whether that of infants or adults, normally occurs on Sunday mornings in the context of the worship of the congregation. Baptism is not essentially a private act, but a public commitment and an act of the gathered church.
Baptism and the Church Membership of Parents
As a policy, at least one parent of a child being baptized must be a member of The Brick Presbyterian Church. When children are baptized, their parents are asked to make statements of Christian faith and commitment that imply membership in the church. Exceptions are rare and can be made in only two circumstances:
- If one of more of the parents is an active member of another Christian congregation in which the child will be raised, and that congregation commits itself to the Christian nurture of the child. Such a commitment can be made in a letter from the minister or official board of the home congregation.
- If the child is to be raised in The Brick Presbyterian Church and if one or more adult members of The Brick Church agree to stand with the child at baptism, answer the questions of commitment, and undertake the Christian nurture of the child in place of the non-member parents of the child.
These are the questions of commitment asked when children are baptized:
The Baptismal Questions
“Do you desire that your children be baptized?
“Relying on the grace of God, do you promise to live the Christian faith, and to nurture your children in that faith?”
“Do you renounce all evil, and powers in the world which defy God’s love and righteousness?”
“Do you trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?”
Official Dates for 2023
February 19 (President’s Day Weekend)
May 14 (Mother’s Day)
June 18 (Father’s Day)
No baptisms in August
Scheduling a Baptism
Infant baptisms are usually scheduled for one Sunday morning service each month. To schedule the baptism of your child, please email Sophie Carnegie. Parents are required to attend a baptism class offered by the church in preparation for their child’s baptism. Baptism class dates will be provided to you by Sophie Carnegie upon emailing.
Baptism and Sponsors or “Godparents”
In Presbyterian tradition, the entire congregation, on behalf of the whole church, commits itself to support the child’s parents in nurturing their child in the Christian faith. Such a commitment means that additional sponsors, or “Godparents” as they are customarily known, are optional.