Baptisms

All Saints is delighted that you have approached the church seeking your child’s baptism or your own baptism. The information on this page is provided to assist you in your thinking about baptism and its appropriateness to your circumstances. The members of All Saints would like to invite you to join them each Sunday as they seek to encourage you to live as Christians.

 

What do I do to organize a baptism?

Continue to read this page and determine if baptism is right for you or your child. You may wish to discuss this with the minister. Then make contact with the minister by attending church one Sunday morning or by phoning. At that time you will organize your first meeting. Please print off and complete this pdf file: “Application for Baptism” and bring it to your first meeting. The minister will then explain the procedure from that point and organize a date with you 

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What is baptism? Baptism is a simple ceremony of washing in water, practised by Christians since the time of Jesus. It is a sign of turning to God, and of faith in Jesus Christ our Lord. At the same time, baptism relies upon on Jesus’ own death and resurrection. Those who ask for baptism recognize that their standing with God depends on what Jesus did for them by his dying and rising again.

What is necessary for an effective baptism? From one point of view, baptism represents what God does for us – he gives us a new birth by his Holy Spirit. This new birth, or new beginning occurs when Jesus is made Lord in our life. This is what we pray for when we are baptized. The one essential thing on the part of the person being baptized is sincere faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. In the case of an infant, this response of faith must be made in the name of the infant by sponsors (parents and godparents) until such time as the infant can make his or her own response.

Who may be godparents? Godparents are members of the church who have themselves been baptized and have confirmed their faith. They may be either the parents themselves, or others close to the family who are interested in the child’s spiritual nurture. Godparents should be able to answer ‘Yes’ to the following two questions: Are you yourself a follower of Jesus Christ and a member of his Church, sincerely believing the promises of God? Are you willing to sponsor this child, answering for him/her now, and accepting responsibility for his/her Christian upbringing?

What are the duties of godparents? Those who act as godparents in baptism are accepting the responsibility, with parents, of providing encouragement, teaching and the help of a good example so that the children may be brought up to follow Christ and become faithful members of the church. (Note they are not, by virtue of this ceremony, promising to take care of the child should the parents die.)

What is promised or undertaken in baptism? Three promises are made by all candidates for baptism, and these also are the undertakings made by parents and godparents when the candidate is a child:

  1. a renunciation of ‘the world, the flesh, and the devil’, which means a rejection of all that is opposed to the will of God;
  2. a belief in God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, which means trust in God as the one who made us, in Jesus as the one who saves us, and in the Holy Spirit who makes us like Jesus;
  3. a firm intention to obey God and follow his leading in our lives.

When should baptism take place? Baptism should, whenever possible, be at a public service on Sundays. This means the whole congregation may witness the admission of the newly baptized into Christ’s church, and welcome them. However, if necessary, it may take place at other times. This should be discussed with the minister of the parish church where the parents live, or where they regularly attend church. It is most important that a firm link be formed with the church in which the child is likely to be brought up.

What else can parents do? Pray for the child. Baptism is not a naming ceremony; it can be a most meaningful occasion for establishing yourselves, your home and family in a right relationship with God. You may have been out of touch with the church; or you may wish to ask about baptism or confirmation for yourself. Do not hesitate to discuss any questions you may have with your minister. Even if you are not certain that you are ready to bring your child for baptism, there is a brief service of ‘Thanksgiving for the Birth of a Child’ in An Australian Prayer Book, which you may like to ask your minister about. When arrangements for a baptism have been made with the minister, ask him which form of service will be used, so that you and the godparents can read it carefully beforehand.

What if Baptism is not the option we’re looking for? Perhaps you are not in a position to make the promises required for baptism but you would still like to express your thankfulness to God for your child in a formal and spiritual way. A short service of thanksgiving might then be appropriate and this can be arranged with the minister. This option does not exclude baptism as an option down the track. A sample thankgiving ceremony is attached below.

Is there a fee for baptism? No. Parents should feel no obligation in this respect. If they wish to make a contribution, either through the normal offertory or in some other way, they are free to do so. [Donations will be passed onto the church and not kept by the minister.]