“When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’”
– Luke 3:21-22
Baptisms at St. Christopher’s Church
Holy Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body the Church. The bond which God establishes in Baptism is indissoluble.
— The Book of Common Prayer, 1979
Baptism is a Sacrament of the church, which means that it is a ritual act, using a specific, outward and visible sign to show us the inward, invisible gift of God’s love, which we call “grace.” We use this special word to describe God’s love because we know that, especially in the world today, we can confuse “love” with romance, responsibility, fascination and a lot of other things. But God’s grace is perfect, unconditional love, which is poured out on us whether we deserve it or not, whether we earn it or not, just because “God is love.”
We believe that God calls all people, by his grace, to love him and to love one another. In Baptism, we are initiated into the household of that love, so that we never have to wonder whether or not we are a part of the Body of Christ. If we have been baptized, the answer is, Yes.
When we have been baptized we recognize that we have entered into a covenant with God: a special relationship in which God makes promises to us (to love us and to give us the gift of new life) and we make promises to him (to be faithful by doing our best to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves).
Anyone wishing to be baptized or to have their children baptized should contact the Parish Office.
At Saint Christopher’s we welcome infants (and children of any age) to receive the Sacrament of Baptism. We don’t hesitate to baptize infants and children too young to make the vows for themselves because we recognize that the Sacrament is first and foremost a gift from God. A child is no less able to receive that gift than an adult. In these cases, parents and godparents make the vows on behalf of the child. It’s expected that when a child reaches an appropriate age, he or she will make a public affirmation of those vows in the service of Confirmation.
Baptism is always available to adults who have not previously been baptized and whose growing faith has led them to a desire to share in the life of the Body of Christ. The church always rejoices when new members are added to the Body of Christ.
Christians believe that Jesus brought us new life, through his life, death and resurrection. Baptism is the beginning of our participation in that new life. All mainstream Christian denominations recognize the validity of baptism with water in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. And if one has been baptized it is never necessary to be baptized again.
When children or adults are baptized, this makes them Christians, not a particular brand or kind of Christian: an Episcopalian or Roman Catholic or Presbyterian, etc. It is in Confirmation, that we ally ourselves with a particular denomination. While some people may decide to change denominations, this is done by Confirmation or Reception into the church. Re-baptism is never required or appropriate.