The Sacrament of Baptism
We believe that baptism, whatever the age of the candidate, is the sole rite of initiation into membership in the Church. The service celebrates the graceful initiative of God in calling and claiming us and the faithful response of the people, both as individuals and as a community.
The Service of Baptism
In response to God's gracious initiative, the parents, or adult candidates for baptism, and the whole gathered community make a profession of faith. The Church community expresses its willingness to receive and support the families in the nurture of all children in their midst. Using the visible signs of water, laying on of hands, anointing with oil and other gestures, the sacrament celebrates God's invisible grace poured out on us. It is our expectation that all requesting baptism here consider Malvern Emmanuel United Church their Church home. As such, parents requesting baptism of their children will normally be active in the life of this congregation.
It is the tradition of the United Church of Canada to regard the congregation as godparents. The whole congregation makes a promise to provide for the spiritual nourishment and Christian Education of your child and all children in our care (which is the role of the godparent in the truest sense of the word). In the past, godparents were often seen as a child's legal guardians. Today, when godparents are named, it is an honorary position only. If you wish your child to have legal guardians, they must be named in your will. If you have chosen godparents, they are invited to come forward at Baptism but have only an honourary role.
Preparation for baptism
Preparation begins with the parents of each child having full intention to help carry out the promises made at Baptism.
Sometimes a grandparent or another sponsor may be chosen to make the baptism commitment if this is not the case. Arrangements for Baptism include the following procedures:
a) An Interview with the minister—final confirmation of the baptism date is made at the time of the visit. Please bring the candidates for baptism to this meeting.
b) Attend at least two Sunday services prior to Baptism Sunday.
On the morning of baptism, the families arrive at the church by 10:45 a.m. Just prior to worship at 11:00 a.m., baptismal families(with godparents) will be seated in the front rows of the church. They are welcomed and presented to the congregation by the presider.