Baptism
A Guide for Parents and Sponsors

Congratulations!

 

Your interest in Baptism suggests that you are not only blessed with the privilege of sharing your life with a child, you recognize that you have a responsibility to nurture spiritual development of this new life. The people of Rosedale United Church congratulate you and offer to support you in this most important undertaking.

Below is a guide on what Baptism is, the steps involved, and other important information. There is also a PDF version available you may share with your family as you make this decision. 

When you are ready to proceed with your child's baptism, download the application form and then give it to our office. We look forward to hearing from you!

What is Baptism?

Some people brought their children to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them. The disciples saw them and scolded them for doing so, but Jesus called the children to Him and said, “Let the children come to me and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Remember this! Whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”
(Luke 18:15-17)

Baptism is not a magical incantation which makes God love your child, nor a requirement for your child to enter Heaven, be saved, or even be a good person here and now. According to everything that Christians believe, your child was created by God and is already loved by God, no matter what you decide about their Baptism.

Baptism is a sign of what God's love and grace and a reminder that salvation is a gift offered to all. Is a celebration of what is really true; God knows your child. God loves your child. God has already saved your child through Jesus.

Baptism is also rite for parents who choose it to assume responsibility for the spiritual care and teachings their child encounters in the future.  In Baptism, we acknowledge that our responsibility includes the spiritual nurture and development of our children. They will learn about God only if we share our faith with them.

Therefore, Baptism is first and foremost an opportunity for Christian parents to make certain promises which are vital to the spiritual well-being of our children.

Baptism is a partnership of God and parents working together for the sake of the child. There is also another partner – the congregation! A child's (or adult's) Baptism is also experienced and celebrated in community, which means we celebrate baptsim within the local church. The congregation promises to provide a community of support and love, where the family experiences God through each church member.

As parents and as members of the congregation, we may not always keep these promises, but they are nevertheless made with solemn intention because we know that the spiritual health and happiness of our children depends on us! And for their sake, we must be willing to work together, to support each other, and to hold each other accountable for the promises which we have made.

Baptism is the sacrament in which by the cleansing with water in the name of God, Creator, Saviour and Holy Spirit, we are received into the Church of Christ and are engaged to be wholly and always God's.
-Based on The Catechism of The United Church of Canada

 

What is Required of Me?

What is Required of Me?  

First, you profess you faith in Jesus. Baptism is a rite that is about the faith of the parents and caregivers, as much as the child.

In the Service of Baptism, this duty is defined by these questions:  

1. Do you affirm your faith in God, your desire to follow the ways of Jesus Christ, and your willingness to be led by the Holy Spirit?  

2. Will you do your best to raise your child in the community of the church, here, and at home teaching them the truths and the duties of the faith, and encouraging them to seek Confirmation, so that together you might grow in your faith?  

As you share your faith with your child, they will in turn learn and grow into their own beliefs. This may mean they seek confirmation as a teen or young adult, or it may mean another path of faith. Regardless, it begins and is fostered by our own desire, as parents, to grow in the love of God.

Do I Have to be a Member of Rosedale United?

The short answer is No.  

To best follow up the promises you’ll make, you will have an ongoing relationship with a community of faith, but we’d rather you take the step of membership into the congregation based on being ready to take part in things here.  

If you are not a member of Rosedale United Church and you have decided that you want your family to belong to the faith community, it is easy to arrange for your membership. The important thing is your decision that your child belong to a family which belongs to this church family.  

If it is not appropriate for either parent to become a member of Rosedale United Church, the minister will discuss with you how you might plan to follow through on the promises made during the ceremony in a meaningful way.

What if We Are a Same-Sex Family?

Rosedale United Church is proud and privileged to baptize children of same-sex couples and all family make-ups.  We welcome persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities to celebrate life passages in this community.

What About God-Parents?

 In The United Church of Canada, every member of the congregation becomes your child’s God-Parent. This is in fact what we promise when children are baptized –   

"….to receive this child in Christ’s name, even as we were once received, and to support him/her with constant love, wholesome example, Christian teaching and faithful prayer."   

As well, you may choose to establish a special relationship with others who will have particular responsibility for your child. If so, you are encouraged to have them stand with you during the Service.

What About a Private Service?

Since Baptism is about your child’s relationship with the community of faith, the Service of Baptism normally occurs during a regular Sunday morning service where the whole congregation can participate. In some extraordinary cases, arrangements may be made for Services of Baptism to be held at another time and/or place. In such cases, member of the church’s Session (elders) will be present to represent the congregation.

What if I Don't Live in Toronto?

Sometimes, although they are living in another community, parents wish to have the Service of Baptism in Rosedale United Church where grandparents and others may attend. In such a case, the people of Rosedale act as representatives of the congregation which will be the church family of the child. During the service, the minister will announce the name of the congregation for which the Baptism is being celebrated.  

It is necessary that the parents have a relationship with that ‘new’ church family before the Baptism takes place. In most cases, instruction about Baptism is provided by the minister who will be the family’s pastor.

What Happens in a Service of Baptism?

First, we invite the family to sit where they choose, but recommend closer to the front. If you wish to reserve seats for loved ones, let us know.

The Baptism ceremony occurs early in the service, before the children go out to Sunday School. 

The minister, joined by the Clerk of Session and one of the baptised children of the congregation, will call you forward. The minister begins the Baptism by reminding everyone of its meaning. Then, the parents, or Baptisee if they are old enough, are asked to profess their faith. The congregation then professes their support.

The minister will hold the child, gently pour water on their head in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and then return the child to their parents.   

We light a candle for each newly Baptised person, as a sign of the light of Jesus that shines within each of us. You will also be handed a small hand-knitted baptism blanket, or ‘prayer blanket’. It has been made by a member of the congregation, and brought forward in the congregation as part of our offerings.   

The Clerk of Session will hand you the Certificate and a ‘keepsake’ box for the candle. While the congregation sings a hymn, you return to your seats. For the sake of the child, you are encouraged to take advantage of the Nursery facilities provided. Check the Certificate and notify the Church Office immediately if any of the information is incorrect.

Are Photos allowed?

Although we ask that photographers not disrupt the worship by taking pictures during the Baptism Ceremony, you are certainly welcome to do so following the service. If you wish, the minister will be happy to join you for pictures as soon as possible after the end of the service.  

Arrangements may be made for the service to be videotaped. As long as no additional lighting is used, video cameras may be operated during the service. Those operating video cameras should remain in their seats or, if they prefer, they can be accommodated in the Sanctuary Control Room.

Any questions? Let us know, we are happy to talk with you further.

The people of Rosedale are anxious to share in the Baptism of your child and to include you within the fellowship of our congregation. We pray that you will decide to make your family a part of our church family.