Baptism is essential to our identity as Christians. Baptism is the way that people of all ages are incorporated into the Church—and not just this particular church community of Church of the Holy Apostles, but THE Church, the body which is made up of all followers of Jesus of every time and in all places. Scripture tells us that this body is the Body of Christ, Christ’s presence in this world (1 Corinthians 12:12-31). St. Paul writes that when we are baptized we are baptized into the death of Christ, so that we can raised into Christ’s life of resurrection (Romans 6:4). This is very serious business, indeed, and we take it seriously at Holy Apostles!
We believe that the Spirit of God works in baptism to give us grace, and that this Spirit dwells in us through baptism (1 Corinthians 12:12). As part of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, we baptize both adults and children of all ages, including infants. Since grace and belonging come from God, they can be imparted to children through baptism no matter how old they are. While infants and smaller children who are baptized are full members of God’s Church, we ask parents and godparents who are present at the baptism to make promises on the child’s behalf. Parents and godparents will promise to bring up the newly baptized child in an environment of faith in Jesus, and that they will teach that child what it means to be a follower of Jesus by word and example. Parents and godparents hold the baptismal promises of the child in trust, until the child is old enough to understand and affirm those promises. We believe that when a child who is baptized comes to an appropriate age, they should be given the opportunity to willingly and knowingly affirm their baptismal promises in the midst of the church community. This act is called Confirmation.
Because we take baptism so seriously, we believe that preparation for baptism is extremely important. In the case of infants, parents will undertake baptismal preparation to discuss what baptism means, to explore the liturgy of baptism, and to become fully aware of the vows made at baptism on behalf of their children. Preparation will also include a discussion of how the community of Holy Apostles can help to support the family of the soon-to-be baptized.
On almost every occasion, baptisms are done in the context of a service where the whole community of Holy Apostles is gathered to welcome the newly baptized and to solemnly promise our aid and assistance to the newly baptized. We especially like to do this on several important feast days of the Christian year. These feasts are the Easter Vigil (spring), the Day of Pentecost (50 days after Easter), All Saints Day or the Sunday after (on or around November 1), and the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord (early January). Though not the norm, baptisms may done at other times, including in emergency situations where it might be necessary to perform a baptism outside the normal assembly of the community.
All baptized Christians, including those from other Christian traditions, churches, and denominations are welcomed and encouraged to participate fully in Holy Communion at Church of the Holy Apostles. We want to highlight the fact that all baptized children are encouraged to receive Holy Communion at Holy Apostles. Theologically, we welcome baptized children to receive Eucharist because we believe that Christ is present and active in the Eucharist, and that the grace Christ gives is available to all members of Christ’s body regardless of their ability to intellectually ascertain what is happening. In our experience as a community, our life together has been richly enhanced by the presence of children at Holy Communion. We have found that when children are welcomed into the service and invited to the table, they intuitively understand the grace of the Eucharist and approach the table with an innocence and joy that Jesus tells us is the only true way to enter God’s kingdom (Matthew 18:1-4).
If you have further questions about baptism, or would like to speak with someone about receiving baptism, please see a member of the clergy, or one of our ushers.