March 20, 2019

Baptism Policy

POLICY STATEMENT

 

SUBJECT:                             BAPTISM

 

DATE OF PREPARATION: July, 2005

 

DATE OF IMPLEMENTATION:       November 2011

 

IMPLEMENTING AUTHORITY:       Church Council

_______________________________________________________

 

Why do we baptise?

“ Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

 Matthew 28: 19 – 20a NIV

 

“Baptism involves an affirmation of the Christian faith and speaks of the love and forgiveness which God offers his people through his Son.” Baptism and Our Children, Uniting Church Press.

 

Relationship of Baptism to our Vision and Mission Statements.

Through the preparation for baptism, the service of Baptism and the follow-up we have the opportunity to challenge the family and teach them about the faith, to minister to them and nurture them.

 

Our aim is to ultimately bring them into active church membership.

 

Who should we baptise?

1.  Those who have never been baptised and who are willing to publicly acknowledge

their acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

2.  Infant children of parents who are willing to publicly acknowledge their acceptance of

Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

 

Requirements prior to baptism

1 As above.

2. Attendance at a series of instruction and discussion (group or individual) prior to baptism to help adult candidates and parents of child candidates understand what it means to accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour, the meaning of baptism, their responsibilities and the church’s responsibilities.

 

Visits

The Minister and an Elder will make visits to the candidate or to the family of a child candidate, (including any godparents where appropriate).  If there is no ordained minister at the Church, two people designated by the elders, will make the visits.

 

Aim of initial visit:

1.  To begin building a relationship with the family – get to know them

2.  To ascertain their level of understanding –

  • reason for requesting baptism;
  • background experience and involvement in the church
  • understanding of the Christian faith.
  • expectations of the church
  • role of Godparents, if requested.

3.  To arrange for further discussion – group or individual

4.  To invite and encourage the family to take part in the Church’s life, prior to and after the baptism

5.  To gather necessary information pertaining to the baptism

 

Aim of subsequent visits prior to Baptism:

  1. To build relationships
  2. To give further instruction re baptism
  3. To answer questions
  4. To offer an alternative service of Thanksgiving/Dedication if more appropriate than baptism.
  5. To encourage involvement in the life of the Congregation.
  6. If there is a number of candidates at any one-time consideration may be given to a group preparation.

 

It is assumed that the Minister who is to perform the baptism may also visit if not already involved in the pre-baptism discussions.

 

The Church Council will make decisions about the acceptance of candidates for baptism. It will be appropriately briefed by the Minister and those involved with the visits.

 

The Baptism Service:

A service will be arranged for a Sunday when an ordained Minister is available.

 

Follow Up

It is essential that this be done well.

The Pastoral Care Coordinator is to ensure the candidate or family is allocated to a Pastoral Carer. The family is then to be visited after the baptism by the Pastoral Carer of the family and/or others involved in the initial visits. Regular visits are to continue.

 

Congregation responsibilities on Baptism

It is also important for the Congregation to understand its responsibility in baptism.

  • Opportunityis to be taken at the time of a baptism to provide teaching on baptism and the Congregation’s responsibility for those being baptised.