Baptism

Baptism is an ancient symbol of cleansing and initiation. Our Lord Jesus Christ was Himself baptised by John the Baptist in the River Jordan at the start of His ministry. Our Lord instituted Baptism as a sacrament and sign of Church membership and commanded us to continue the practice.

Children are brought to baptism in response to God’s all embracing love; although not yet old enough to make the promises themselves, God wants them included as members of Christ’s body the Church. In due time, they should make their own commitment through Confirmation.

When people are baptised they become members of the Body of Christ, the Christian Church and they receive the Holy Spirit as our Lord did in His baptism. The naming ceremony within the Baptismal service is the ‘Christening’ part of the service. This is the time when we formally are given our Christian names. Baptism with water symbolises the cleansing of sin that Jesus’ death and resurrection made possible, the sustaining power that Jesus offers us in this life and the new life with God that is the Christian hope.

The Baptism service involves a thanksgiving for the gift of a child, the naming, a statement of faith – made by godparents for those too young to make it themselves – and the baptism.

1. PRIOR TO BAPTISM

It is required that the parents meet with the Rector. At or following that meeting agreement for the baptism can be made. Topics covered in the information evening include:

  • What is Baptism?
  • Choosing godparents
  • Responsibilities of godparents and parents (sponsors)
  • What to wear for Baptism?
  • The statements of faith required by sponsors
  • Raising a child in the life and faith of the Christian community

Parents and godparents from other Christian traditions may bring or sponsor children for baptism as Anglicans at St John’s, but this should be discussed with the Rector.

2. TIMES

Baptisms normally occur during the regular 9:30am Family Service on Sundays at St John’s.

Private family baptisms may be arranged in special circumstances.  The Rector is happy to listen to your particular family needs and requests.

3. THE CEREMONY

Under certain circumstances it is possible to have another Anglican priest conduct the baptism at St John’s. This needs to be discussed with the Rector to determine if it is possible. To avoid embarrassment, this discussion should occur before the other priest is invited to take the service.

It may be possible for families to be prepared for Baptism by clergy in other locations prior to baptism at St John’s. This situation needs to be discussed with the Rector.

THE DOVE
The Dove symbolises God the Holy Spirit who brings, Light, Life and Peace. The Holy Spirit’s presence is symbolised by wind and fire – and these intertwining elements are quilted to incorporate the lighted candle.

THE CANDLE
A lighted candle is presented to each Godparent at the Baptism.

The lighted candle symbolises the “passing from death into life” and is undergirded by the prayers of the congregation that the ‘newly baptised’ may shine as a ‘light’ in this world.

THE FONT
The font is a replica of the ceramic portable font, which holds the water consecrated for public baptism.  The surrounding quilting symbolises the mystical property of the washing away of sins, and the resurrection power of walking in newness of life.

THE OIL – CHARISM
It was customary for prophets, priests and kings to be anointed with oil. At Baptism the Sign of the Cross is made upon the forehead with oil, symbolising that God’s favour has been bestowed, and praying that he/she will continue faithful to Christ until life’s end.

4. NO FEE

There is no charge for baptism, although it is traditional at the time of baptism for a family to make a thanks offering to God for the gift of their child. Private baptisms attract a church use fee of $200.

5. ADULT BAPTISM

Adult baptisms are also conducted at St John’s. They can be in conjunction with the baptism of a child of the same family (a surprising number of parents were not brought by their parents for baptism as infants), or in a separate service.