Holy Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body, the Church: This means that through Baptism a person obtains complete rights of membership in the Church including access to all the Sacraments and sacramental rites. Baptism is a public statement of one’s intentional decision to follow the way of Jesus. In the case of infant baptism, it is the parents’ declaration of their intent to raise a child in the way of Jesus.
The bond which God establishes in Baptism is indissoluble, so baptism is only administered once. When you choose to be baptized yourself or to have your child baptized in the Episcopal Church, it means you are choosing to live out the Baptismal Covenant in the context of the community of the Episcopal Church, taking your part in the worship, mission and ministries of your local church and the church at large. Baptism is open to all people, regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, disability or background.
The celebration of Holy Baptism is especially appropriate at the Easter Vigil, on the Day of Pentecost, on All Saints’ Day or the Sunday after All Saints’ Day, and on the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord (the First Sunday after the Epiphany). It is recommended that, as far as possible, Baptisms be reserved for these occasions or when a bishop is present.
If you feel called to be baptized, or to have your child baptized, the first step is to join us for worship regularly and then to make an appointment with the priest to talk about Baptism and set a schedule for intentional preparation. That preparation includes study of the Baptismal Covenant and what it contains, and what it can mean for your life. One should also learn about the symbol of water, oil, about the importance of the Trinity—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—in whose name the baptism is administered, and about the Scripture stories that illuminate the meaning and symbolism of Baptism. If you are seeking Baptism for your child, we require a copy of his/her birth certificate. If the child you are bringing for Baptism is not your own, we expect written permission from the parents for the Baptism, and or certificate of guardianship if you are the child’s guardian.
Each candidate for Holy Baptism is to be sponsored by one or more baptized persons. We prefer that at least one of them be an active member of this or any other Episcopal congregation. Sponsors of adults and older children present their candidates and thereby signify their endorsement of the candidates and their intention to support them by prayer and example in their Christian life. Sponsors of infants, commonly called godparents, present their candidates, make promises in their own names, and also take vows on behalf of their candidates. It is fitting that parents be included among the godparents of their own children. Parents and godparents are to be instructed in the meaning of Baptism, in their duties to help the new Christians grow in the knowledge and love of God, and in their responsibilities as members of his Church.
We view Baptism as the beginning of a new life, and not a simple rite of passage. As such, those who come to it should be ready to honor their baptismal promises and to become engaged in their new active life as beloved members of the Body of Christ, the Church.