Baptism is one of the two sacraments in our reformed heritage, the other being Communion, the Lord’s Supper. The Westminster Shorter Catechism defines a sacrament as “an outward and visible sign of an inward, invisible grace.” Celebrating the Baptism of your child with you is the church’s opportunity to see God’s grace and love at work as He builds your Christian family. Through the symbol of water, we remember that the love of Jesus cleanses us all from sin and gives us new life. We believe that God fully loves and accepts your child and that Baptism is not a “magical” act, changing God’s view of your son or daughter. Rather, this sacrament is a celebration of what God has already promised to your child and your family as followers of Jesus Christ. In the promises of parents and the congregation, we celebrate the commitment of those whose joyful task is the formation of a Christian family.
We celebrate Baptism during our 11:30 service on designated Sundays each month. As Presbyterians, it is our tradition that the congregation make a commitment to support you and your child in the process of Christian nurture. However, we invite you to bring along one or two special friends to stand with you as Sponsors. When the minister introduces your family, you may come to the front of the Sanctuary, taking your place in front of the Communion Table and facing the congregation. You, as parents, will be asked the following questions:
“Who is your Lord and Savior?” – (Jesus Christ)
“Do you trust Him?” – (Yes)
“Do you intend to be His disciple, to show His love, and to do His will?” – (Yes)
Then the congregation, acting as your child’s “corporate Godparents.” promise their support, love, prayers and friendship for you and your family.
The minister will then take your child into his/her arms, and ask the “Christian name” of your child (first and middle name). This is a vestige of the traditional “naming” or “Christening” service. Your child will then be baptized with water and returned to you to care and nurture in the Christian faith.
Following the Baptism, your child is counted among the “household of God” – in other words, a member of the family of Jesus Christ.
After the day of Baptism, we will send you a Baptism Certificate which should be kept in a safe place. We commit ourselves to you as you raise your child in the Christian faith. We give you this support by providing pastoral care for your family and with many programs for your child as he/she grows.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a Baptism at the church please contact Linda Calvillo at Lindac@pctr.org or 732-349-1331.