The Sacrament of Holy Baptism, administered with water and “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” is initiation into the Christian Church where the individual is joined mystically to Jesus Christ and His Church, receives forgiveness of sins and is regenerated by the Holy Spirit.
The liturgy in The Book of Common Prayer describes the water of baptism in this way:
“In it we are buried with Christ in his death. By it we share in his resurrection. Through it we are reborn by the Holy Spirit” (p 306).
Baptism is a prerequisite to receiving Holy Communion at the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Those who have not yet received Holy Baptism, including adults who are receiving instruction in the Christian faith, are still invited forward to the Altar Rail during the Eucharist to receive a blessing from one of the priests.
Baptism - Infants & Children
The practice of baptizing infants and young children derives from the baptism of adults. The Church does not simply baptize any child, but those who are the children (or in the care) of at least one baptized, Christian parent or guardian. The Church baptizes those who will grow up within the life of the Church.
St. Mary & St. Bartholomew's has the following requirements for the parents and godparents of infants and young children whom they wish to present for Holy Baptism:
Baptism Preparation involves taking two 5 week course:
Back to Basics Part 1. This is required for the parents of children who have been or will soon be baptized. Godparents are required to attend. We will explore the basics of the Christian Faith with one session specifically focusing on what the Scriptures as well as what our Prayer Book and Anglican tradition teach us about this Sacrament of New Birth.
• At least one of the parents must be a baptized member of the church and has been attending regular Sunday worship for at least six months prior to the Baptism classes.
• Godparents must be baptized Christians and should be active, mature, faithful members of the Christian Church.
• Parents and godparents must be able to affirm in all good faith and for themselves the promises made on behalf of the child.
• Parents (and godparents, if they are able) are required to attend the Baptism Preparation Class for Parents offered quarterly and take place on Sunday.
• If the parents are not members of the Parish, but for some pressing reason wish their child to be baptized at Incarnation, they must demonstrate comparable membership in another Parish. A letter or a phone call from the member of the clergy of that parish is required in these cases, and the final decision is made by the Rector.
Baptism - Adults
The Sacrament of Holy Baptism is for those who express their desire to be baptized in response to the Gospel.
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)
All adults who desire to be Baptized (and/or Confirmed) must attend two 4-week courses: Backs to Basics 101 & 201. Those classes culminate with the visit of the diocesan bishop either near the end of the Fall or Spring.
The Sacrament of Holy Baptism is a sacrament of initiation not simply into the Body of Christ but into a local church family. It is, therefore ,vital that those who wish to be baptized at St. Mary & St. Bartholomew's be connected participants of this community.
Accordingly, the adult or older child, or at least one of the parents of a young child, must be a member of this parish who has supported the life of the parish by regular, Sunday attendance for at least six months. To become a member, one must participate in the Back to Basics 101 course and either be confirmed or received into the Anglican Church, or, if one is already an Anglican, have their membership transferred to this parish.
Baptisms that are not administered within a celebration of the Holy Eucharist on a Sunday or the other dates listed are reserved for situations of great, pastoral necessity at the discretion of the clergy.