Baptism is one of two ritual acts instituted by Christ and intended for all Christians. It is a simple administration of water on the head of believers and their children, done while the words “I baptize you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” are spoken. In our church, persons of any age may be baptized (from infants to senior citizens), and baptism is experienced only once in a believer’s lifetime. It is never necessary to receive baptism anew after a significant religious experience. You were marked as God’s at the time of your baptism, even if it was years before.
The significance of baptism is not for the removal of “original sin” but is a symbolic cleansing and rebirth. As interpreted by our church, its principle meaning is a public recognition of a new son or daughter of God.
We generally expect that church members present their children for baptism at a young age, though parents who choose not to do this are in no way penalized. Non-members may also have their children baptized in our church. Though we do not require them to join our church, we do ask that they be able to affirm our church covenant (found on this page), and the covenant will be recited by all during the baptismal ceremony.
Baptism is almost always celebrated during the Sunday worship service, and is a simple and relatively brief ceremony. The meaning and origin of baptism is briefly explained by the pastor, and the candidates (or parents) are asked if they reject the powers of evil and embrace the Christian way of life. The congregation is asked to lend their prayerful support to the person or family before them, and we all join in repeating our church covenant. After a prayer, the water is administered to the head as the proper words are spoken, and a blessing is given.
There is no particular time of year when baptisms need to occur, and one can be scheduled with the pastor. You will probably be asked to meet with the pastor to discuss the meaning of baptism.
We do not require that a member’s baptism occur in our congregation or even in the United Church of Christ. We accept baptisms from all other Christian churches, and have formal agreements with most of them—including the Roman Catholic Church—for mutual recognition of baptism.
Some scripture passages about baptism: