Baptism is one of the two sacraments recognized by the United Church of Christ. A sacrament can be defined as “an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace.” It is a public symbol and act which reminds us that God reaches out to us in love.
What Is Baptism?
Baptism is a joyous celebration of new birth, God’s free and undeserved gift, and the visible recognition of becoming a member of the Christian church. In the baptismal ceremony, which usually takes place before the congregation, a person becomes a member of the Church of Jesus Christ and is accepted into the church family, the community of faith. Baptism signifies that God has given us the gifts necessary for a meaningful life.
Planning for a Baptism
The request for baptism may be made through the pastor or the church office. Sufficient time should be allowed for counseling and preparation. The office will need the following information for the baptismal certificate and the church records: full name, birth date and place, full names of parents, including the mother’s maiden name, since a baptismal certificate can serve as a legal document.
When you seek baptism, the church and pastor are responsible for preparing you for this sacrament so you can understand its meaning. If you are a parent seeking baptism for your child, you should understand its meaning for the child and your own responsibility toward your child and the church. This includes providing a Christian atmosphere of teaching, example and prayer in your home, taking your child to church as soon as he or she is able to be placed in one of the church school classes, and participating in the life of the church in order that you, too, can grow as a responsible Christian parent.
At What Age?
Children may be baptized at any time the parents desire; however, it is customary that it be done in the first few months after the baby is born. Baptism may occur at any time of life.
Ideally, baptisms take place in the sanctuary during regular worship services, except the first Sunday of the month which is a communion Sunday.
Any baptism which, because of unusual circumstances, is not held during a regular service, should include a representative of the congregation (usually the Senior Deacon).
Sometimes parents will choose special people to stand with them as godparents. While this is not necessary, it can have meaning for the family. These persons, by their close friendship or family ties, represent one of the specific ways by which the congregation fulfills its pledge.
If you choose to have godparents, they should be baptized and active church members themselves and instructed in the meaning of baptism so they will fully understand their responsibility. Godparents are to support the parents in raising their child in the Christian faith.
Please contact the church office at 781-784-2631 to speak with the minister about a baptism.