Baptism

 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Baptism comes from a Greek word meaning “dip” or “immerse”. Baptism is far more than a ‘nice thing to do’ or a family tradition. Baptism is a conscious choice made to show that we are followers of Jesus.
Baptism involves a public profession (statement) of belief in the Christian faith.
Promises are made about following God’s way as shown to us by Jesus.

In infant baptism, these promises are made on behalf of the child by the parent/godparent/sponsor and congregation. Adults and teenagers make these promises for themselves, but may also choose godparents/sponsors to support them in their decision.

We never become Christians alone. The person baptised becomes part of a wider community, a group of believers that extends beyond the congregation of the local church. We become part of a family that knows no borders or skin shade.

In baptism we become part of the body of Christ and become members of the worldwide Christian church – not a specific denomination. When a baptised person is old enough to understand the responsibilities of being a Christian, they may choose to come to confirmation.

CONFIRMATION
This is simply a traditional way of personally confirming the promises made on our behalf at baptism. Confirmation is a public statement about a personal commitment to growing as a believer in the company of family, friends and elders of the church (including the Bishop).

Baptism is a once occurrence. Baptism marks the beginning of the Christian life.

WATER
Water is basic to life on this fragile planet. It is cleansing, an outward sign that symbolises God’s promise to wash away anything that separates us from Him and the promise of being given new life in Christ.

God receives the baptised person into a brand new relationship with Him; into His family, the church. The ‘church’ is not a building; it’s a worldwide family of ordinary people who share one thing in common: a belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

CANDLE
The Pascal candle (lit at a dawn service each Easter Sunday, sometimes called the Easter candle) is a tall, usually decorated candle that is lit during a baptism. It links baptism with resurrection and new life . During the baptism ceremony a small wax baptismal candle is lit from this large Pascal candle and offered to the newly baptised.

It becomes a symbol of new life in Jesus Christ, the light of the world, and a sign of the hope of all believers. The candle is a reminder that the person now belongs to Jesus.

OIL
Olive oil (also called chrism) is applied as a sign of the cross on the forehead of the newly baptised. This marks the baptised as belonging to Christ. Oil is used for anointing in healing and other special situations. The name “Christ” means anointed one; our baptism links us to Christ.

WHITE ROBE
The tradition of wearing special white baptism gowns or outfits represents the new life in Christ where the baptised has been cleansed. White symbolises purity and freedom. The newly baptised person has “put on Christ”.

The early Church observed the practice of putting on white robes on newly baptised Christians as they stepped out of the water of baptism.

BACKGROUND
In the early days of the church mainly adults were baptised. Those who wanted to join the church first had to undergo a long period of teaching, testing and training. If they lasted the course they were taken to a river before sunrise on Easter Day.

After publicly renouncing their old beliefs and professing their new faith in the One True God and His son, Jesus Christ, they were led into the water and submerged three times. Their former lives and old beliefs were “drowned” and as the sun began to rise, they were led up out of the water, clothed in white robes, given new Christian names and presented to the Bishop for Confirmation. They then joined their new family for the Easter celebration of the Supper of the Lord, the Holy Communion.

GODPARENTS & SPONSORS
God Parents. It is quite important to choose the right people for this role. They should be wise and caring people who will take a personal interest in their godchild’s growth and development throughout their life. People who are active Christians and practice Jesus’ teachings in their daily lives will better understand this responsibilty.

MORE INFORMATION
Please contact our ministry team on 02 6621 3200 or email for more information on baptism, or if you would like to discuss having your child baptised in our regular informal and friendly baptism services.