Baptism and Baptismal Preparation

Baptism is scheduled in consultation with the clergy. It normally takes place during the Sunday Eucharist. Some preparation is required. A fee is not usually charged for baptism, it is part of the ministry of the church and people should be financially supporting the parish church anyway. If a family is not financially supporting the parish, a donation to the parish is appropriate. Godparents or sponsors must be baptized, but need not be Anglican.

At the Synod of the Diocese of Algoma (1979), it was agreed the policy on baptism shall include the following essential practices:

  1. Instruction will be mandatory for parents and sponsors prior to or following the baptism of their children.
  2. Baptism normally will take place at one of the major services of the parish so that the Christian community is present.
  3. Ongoing involvement of parish members with the families of the newly baptized.

Normally the service of baptism should be held at the main Sunday service, and where possible, baptism should be administered in the context of the Holy Communion Service (from the House of Bishops, 1973). Private Baptism is discouraged, except when warranted by a pastoral situation.

Baptism is especially appropriate at the Easter Vigil, on the Day of Pentecost, on All Saints’ Day or the Sunday after All Saint’s Day, and on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. It is also appropriate to have a baptism when the Bishop is present. Please consult the Incumbent for parish policy regarding the scheduling of a baptism.

The liturgical colour for Baptism is the colour of the day. Scripture readings and psalms are normally those of the day, however, readings and psalms suitable for baptism liturgies are found on p. 165 of the Book of Alternative Services (BAS). When the celebrant marks the newly baptized with the sign of a cross, Chrism may be used. Chrism is the anointing with oil of the newly baptized to signify the giving of the Holy Spirit: the imparting of a special character. A baptismal candle is lit from the paschal candle and given to the baptized person to keep as a reminder of the baptism. The paschal candle is a large candle that represents the resurrected Jesus.

Children Receiving Communion

In 1987 the Synod of the Diocese of Algoma authorized children to receive communion before confirmation. Children and their parents decide when the children receive. Children who do not receive communion may receive a blessing.

A preparation program, Life in the Eucharist, is offered for children who can read. Parents and children can work on it at home, or it will be offered to a group of children from time to time.

Baptism has become recognized as the sacrament of initiation; that a person who is baptized is a full member of the church and entitled to all the rights and privileges of membership. It is hoped that by including children as members of the church family, they will feel accepted and stay, as they grow older. People learn by experiencing something and reflecting on it, and the hope is that, as children experience being a part of the church, they will learn and their faith in Jesus Christ will grow.