Holy Baptism is a sacrament by which God welcomes new members into Christ’s Body, the Christian Church, and offers them a place in the reign of God as expressed through the Christian faith. The outward and visible sign in Baptism is water, in which an individual is baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. The inward and spiritual grace in Baptism is the baptized person’s union with Christ, birth into God’s household, forgiveness of sins, and new life in the Holy Spirit.
At Holy Trinity, we delight in welcoming the newly baptized as partners with us in Christ’s life and ministry, and we thank you for considering having your Baptism here. This brochure will answer initial questions you may have about the sacrament, including the Church’s expectations for you and the practicalities of preparing for Baptism.
Holy Baptism is a sacred occasion. We promise to do all in our power not only to make your Baptism a joyous event, but also to support you in your life in Christ.
Who Can Be Baptized?
Anyone who seeks God and is drawn to Jesus Christ is welcome to receive the sacrament of Holy Baptism. God’s invitation extends to people of all ages, from infants to the very aged, and from every kind of background.
When Are Baptisms Offered?
The Christian Church has historically pointed to four major feast days on which Baptisms are especially appropriate. They are the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord in January, the Easter Vigil in early spring, the Day of Pentecost in late spring, and All Saints’ Day in November. Though we especially enjoy celebrating baptisms on these four occasions, we also work with families and individuals around particular family needs. However, because Baptism is an initiation into the whole Christian community, it is therefore a public occasion, taking place at our 8 a.m., 11 a.m. or 6 p.m. celebration of the Holy Eucharist. "Private baptisms,” which were popular in the past, are only celebrated in emergency situations. To explore the Sacrament of Holy Baptism at Holy Trinity, please contact the rector, The Rev. John F. Beddingfield at 212-289-4100, ext. 204 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who Can Be Godparents?
Every candidate for Baptism is accompanied in their faith journey by a sponsor (for adults) or godparent (for children). The commitment of the sponsor or godparent is to support the candidate in the Christian faith and life. Anyone can serve in this role, including persons from other faith traditions or no faith tradition, as long as the individual is sincere in promising to support the candidate’s spiritual growth as a Christian.
How Do I Prepare for Baptism?
Candidates for Baptism, or their parents and godparents when the candidate is an infant, enter into a time of holy preparation before the Baptism. The preparation usually includes a session or two with the clergy, but can involve more extension formation, depending on the candidate’s age, background, and desire. During this time, candidates reflect prayerfully on the five promises of The Baptismal Covenant (Book of Common Prayer, pp. 304-305), which serve as a foundation for their commitment to the Christian faith and life.
What Are the Church Expectations After Baptism?
Because Baptism is a rite of initiation and welcome, the Church yearns for the newly baptized to have an authentic relationship with the Christian community. A mark of this relationship will be regular participation in the life of a particular parish. At Holy Trinity, we invite candidates for Baptism to take seriously this aspect of the Christian life and to express their sincere commitment to “continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 304).