What Does Baptism Mean?

Baptism is one of the sacraments that, along with the Lord’s Supper, God has given the church to strengthen and nourish our faith. Baptism is a means of grace and a way we experience the benefits of the Gospel. Baptism is a sign of God’s cleansing and of the new life we have when we enter the covenant community. It is a sign and seal that we belong to Christ.

 

Who May Be Baptized at BHPC?

Children, youth, and adults can be baptized at Bradley Hills. At least one of the parents of a child presented for baptism should be a member of the church, unless there are exceptional circumstances. Youth who wish to join the church but who have not yet been baptized are baptized after completing a Confirmation Class, and adults are baptised after complete an Exploring Membership Class.

 

At What Ages are Baptisms Done?

Presbyterians typically baptize infants as a reminder of God’s grace. Each of us comes before God as a helpless child, whatever our age. God’s grace comes before our belief and it is God’s action, not ours, that saves us.    

There is no set age for the baptism of children -- every child and family is different. Many families find baptizing children around six months of age is a good time. If a parent joins the church and has children who are not baptized, s/he can speak with the pastors abut baptizing them.

As described above, youth and adults who wish to join the church but have not yet been baptized previously receive this sacrament the day they join the church.

 

What Happens During Baptism at Bradley Hills?

Baptism is an action of the congregation and as such takes place as part of a worship service. During baptism, parents promise to raise their baptized children in the community of faith; youth and adults being baptized affirm their 

intention to learn about and live the Christian faith; the congregation promises to be actively involved in the spiritual development of the person being baptized.

Infant or Child Baptism: When a child is baptized, the parents, other family members, and any sponsors/godparents stand together with the pastors. The parents affirm their intention to raise the child in the Christian faith and in the church, and the child’s siblings are also included in the ceremony in various ways. The pastor blesses the child being baptized by putting a small amount of water on the child’s forehead in the name of the Trinity; then the congregation, including the children of the church, makes its promises and welcomes the newly baptized.

Adult or Youth Baptism: When a youth or adult is baptized, much of the same order occurs as with infants and children. Parents of youth and family members of adults stand together with the pastors. The youth or adult affirms his/her intention to learn about and live the Christian faith with the support of the church. The pastor blesses the youth/adult and the congregation welcomes the newly baptized.

 

What Do I Do If I'm Interested in Baptism?

Bradley Hills offers classes twice a year for individuals or families considering baptism for themselves or their children. Classes are not required, but are offered to help support and nourish the spiritual side of parents in particular. Consultation with the pastor is necessary. All baptisms are approved in advance by the elders of the church in consultation with the pastor(s).

At Bradley Hills we usually celebrate baptisms on the third Sunday of each month, but we can be flexible as meets a family’s needs.

Contact either of the pastors to learn more. 

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