The Sacrament of Baptism is a joyous event. Baptism is the sign and seal of incorporation into Jesus Christ. In baptism we recognize and accept the grace of God that already exists in a person’s life.
If I have already been baptized, do I need to be baptized again to join Reid Memorial?
We believe that the sacrament of Christian baptism may be received only once. We recognize as fully valid the baptism of all Christian denominations whether baptized as an infant, child or adult.
Who may be baptized?
We baptize adults, children and infants. There is no age requirement.
As to adult baptism, no one is required to have the Bible memorized, or pass a test about Christian theology and church history. No one is required to be a perfect human being, with perfect faith and no doubts or faults.
What is expected of me?
When the Sacrament of Baptism is celebrated, vows and promises are made in front of the congregation:
- Profess your faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior
- Renounce evil and affirm your reliance on God’s grace
- Declare your intention to participate actively and responsibly in the worship and mission of the church and, in the case of infant or child baptism, the parent or guardian declares their intention to provide for the Christian nurture of their child.
After taking these vows, the newly baptized or their parents must attempt to live these vows faithfully in their lives. This would include participating in the life and ministry of Reid Memorial with time, talents and financial resources.
When may baptism occur?
Baptism is celebrated during a regularly scheduled worship service. Because the Sacrament of Baptism is an act of the whole community of faith, the congregation also makes promises at the time of baptism.
What steps need to be taken in preparation for baptism?
For parents/guardians desiring to have their child(ren) baptized, the first step is to be an active member of the congregation. When you discern that it is time for your child(ren) to be baptized, complete a Request for the Celebration of the Sacrament of Baptism. This form may be obtained after consultation with the senior pastor. Your request is then forwarded to the Worship and Music Committee. That committee reviews it and makes a recommendation to the Session (our ruling body) which has the responsibility of approving all baptisms.
Consultation with the pastor is necessary to determine a date for baptism.
For adults desiring to be baptized, first speak with a pastor who will talk with you more about the significance of being baptized. You are also urged to participate in the worship life of the church and attend a new members class. This class is an opportunity for all who are considering uniting with our church to learn more about what it means to be a member of Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church. After this brief period of instruction, you will make your profession of faith and the Session will authorize your baptism.
On the day of the baptism
The celebration of the Sacrament of Baptism takes place in the worship service prior to the sermon. During the celebration of the sacrament you (and other members of your immediate family, if you desire) will be invited to join the pastor and an elder around the baptismal font. You will be asked to affirm your vows, and there will be a prayer. An adult being baptized may be asked to kneel, if they are able. The pastor normally holds the child being baptized. The Christian names (given names, not the surname) will be pronounced. The pastor will take water from the font and place it on the head of the one being baptized, using the words of the ancient Triune formula, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Another prayer is offered, and the newly baptized is introduced to the church as a member of the family of faith.
A word about pictures and video taping
While baptism is an event to be remembered, it is celebrated during a worship service. Taking pictures during the service is distracting to worship and therefore not permitted. The pastor who celebrates the sacrament will be happy to join you and your family at the baptismal font after the service to take pictures. You are permitted to videotape the service from the balcony.
Baptized children and the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper
If you believe that your baptized child has appropriate understanding (given their age) and if the child appreciates that this is a special activity in the life of the church, your child may participate in the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.
As the child grows, he/she will be invited to join Confirmation Class in eighth or ninth grade. This will provide opportunities and experiences for those children so that they may then confirm the baptismal vows their parents took on their behalf.