“Child of God, you have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever.”
What is Baptism?
In baptism we experience the beautiful and unconditional love of God that connects us forever with Christ. In baptism we are reborn children of God who hold the promise forever to be forgiven, washed clean and welcomed to God’s family. Baptism not only connects us with God but also with all Christians around the world who become our brothers and sisters. As we hear the words, “child of God” and feel the water poured over us, we are adopted by God into a new life that never ends. It is the beginning of our life in Christ, one that starts by God promise and love, a healing shelter from our human brokenness and sin. In the beginning of the ELCA baptismal service, we acknowledge first that baptism is God’s act, God’s initiative and God’s free gift.
“In Holy Baptism, God liberates us from sin and death by joining us to the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Born children of a fallen humanity, in the baptismal waters we become God’s reborn children and inherit eternal life. By water and the Holy Spirit we are made members of the Church, which is Christ’s body. As we live with him and with his people, we grow in faith, love and obedience to God’s will.” Lutheran Book of Worship pg 121.
Do I Have to be a Member to Receive Baptism?
No. Baptism is open to all who wish to be baptized in the name of God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In baptism, commitments are made to enter a life-long journey of faith within a congregation. We encourage families to be connected to a faith community. If you don’t have a church home, please consider us as your church family.
What if I Came from Another Faith tradition?
We believe there is only one lifelong Christian baptism in the triune God (In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit). There is no need to “re-baptize” when someone comes to the Lutheran church from another Christian faith, or if someone who has been baptized feels they have fallen away from the faith. God’s word at baptism holds firm!
Who Could Become a Sponsor/Godparent?
Sponsors/Godparents play a very important role in your child’s spiritual life. They will serve as role models in the faith – spiritual mentors. The child should be able to look to their sponsor/godparent as an example of how the church teaches us to live our faith in our daily life. They should not only support your child but also support you, the parents. The role of the sponsors/godparents is not just an honorific title but one with responsibility. As such, the sponsors/godparents should be baptized Christians who practice their faith in their daily life.
Can I Ask for a Private Baptism?
We do not perform private baptisms because baptism is entry into a community of faith. Baptism is meant to be shared by family, sponsors, godparents and the whole church community. For this reason, baptism normally takes place during a regular worship service of the congregation. This enables the members of the Christian community, which you or your child is entering, to witness the event and offer their prayers, love and support. In some special circumstances, baptism is performed outside of the church, such as in hospitals, nursing homes or family homes when it is necessary. If you are not sure if it is required, please talk to our pastor.
What age can a person be baptized?
Jesus commanded us to baptize “all nations,” a phrase the Church has always understood to mean “everyone.” We baptize, regardless of race, color, sex, age, class, or education. Jesus makes no exceptions. Luke 18 tells us that certain parents were bringing infants/children to Jesus, that He might bless them. Jesus said: “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it” (Luke 18:15-17). ELCA Lutherans bring their infants to the baptismal font within the first months – even weeks – of a child’s life. “The fact that circumcision (which occurred on an infant’s eighth day) was replaced by baptism in Jewish-Christian circles may indicate that infant baptism was assumed from the first” (Baptism by Martin Marty). When infants are baptized, parents, godparents and the congregation all make promises for the child until the child is old enough to affirm these promises for themselves.
Is Baptism a Sacrament?
Baptism is one of the two sacraments, the other being the Eucharist (or Holy Communion). We believe both to have been instituted by Jesus. Lutherans believe that the water in baptism is not simply water, but it is water enclosed in God’s command and connected to God’s Word. (Luther’s Small Catechism)
What is the Baptismal Covenant?
Our baptism sets us out on a lifelong journey that is characterized by our relationship to God, our relationship to our faith community, our relationships in our community and the wider world. The liturgy for the Affirmation of Baptism describes how we are called to live as baptized Christians: (Evangelical Lutheran Worship, page 236). We are to “…live among God’s faithful people; hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s Supper; proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed; serve all people following the example of Jesus; and strive for justice and peace in all the earth.”
Who Can Baptize?
Baptism has to be performed by an ordained pastor whenever he/she is available. In cases of a life-threatening situation, a person may be baptized by any Christian with water from any source “in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” Should a person die before a baptism can take place, in place of baptism, we commend the person to God’s promises of life and salvation revealed in Jesus.
We encourage you to have someone take non-flash photographs of your child’s baptism. Please be discreet and do not block the view of the congregation who are there to witness, support and celebrate the baptism with you.
Baptismal Record and Certificate
The Baptism will be recorded in the permanent records of St. Mark from the information you provide. Please ensure the accuracy of the information, spelling of names etc. A certificate will be presented to you following the Baptism ceremony.