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Christianity is not just a belief system: it is a way of life. Baptism is the rite by which one is initiated into the company of those who believe the Christian gospel, and who have committed themselves to the values, attitudes, virtues, practices and habits of those who follow Jesus. To receive baptism is to accept both the great privilege of being joined to God in Christ, and the costly obligations which this entails.
Adults and Baptism
One consequence of the widespread secularization of our society is that there are many adults who have little experience of the Church, and who were not baptised in infancy or childhood. The Church welcomes the opportunity to meet with adult inquirers, to familiarise them with the beliefs, tools, and practices of the Christian life, and – should they then so desire – to offer them baptism.
Children and Baptism
The Anglican Church also practices baptism for those who are as yet unable to comprehend the full implications of their Christian commitment, or to make promises on their own behalf. The baptism of infants and children is undertaken in light of the deep commitment of the child’s family to the Church and the Christian way of life, and to ensuring that the child will follow in the family’s footsteps. This means, minimally, that
- at least one adult in the child’s home is actively involved in the worship life of the parish, and to the extent possible, supports the parish with his or her time, talent, and treasure;
- there is a commitment in the household to ensure that the child receives adequate instruction in the faith, and will be brought to Church to participate in various aspects of its life.
Parents who are returning to the Church after a time away are encouraged to spend some time with us before committing themselves or their children to the rigours of baptism. Christ Church is happy to provide a conversation partner or parish sponsor in this time of “testing the waters.”
The covenant of baptism is a two-way street. Not all the obligations fall to the baptised. Christ Church, for its part, will ensure that proper resources are provided to parents, and to children, including a Sunday nursery for children up to the age of 3, a Sunday School and youth group, and opportunities for parents to support each other in Christian parenting.
Baptismal Instruction (“Catechesis”)
Christ Church provides instruction or “catechesis” for parents, and for adults seeking baptism for themselves. Catechesis for parents is undertaken by a team of parents, and focuses on the history, meaning, and significance of baptism in the Anglican Christian tradition. Participants work in small groups to explore the service, and the commitments involved. Adult candidates will generally be invited to participate in the annual Adult Inquirers’ Program. This is also a suitable program for parents who wish to renew their own baptismal covenant.
Services of Baptism
Baptism at Christ Church always takes place within the context of public worship: Because baptism is initiation into the Church, the initiating community needs to be present and part of the initiation. More than this, the community wants to celebrate its enlargement, and to welcome the newly baptised.
The dates for baptism at Christ Church are set to correspond with particularly suitable occasions in the Church Year. These include the Baptism of Jesus, the Great Vigil of Easter, Pentecost, All Saints, and the visit of the Bishop.
For further information, please download the brochure or contact the Church Office.
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