WHAT DOES BAPTISM MEAN IN THE UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA?
In the United Church tradition, baptism is a Sacrament. We have only one other Sacrament in the United Church, and that is the Sacrament of Holy Communion. A Sacrament has been defined as “an outward and physical sign of an inward and spiritual grace.” This means that baptism is a sign of God’s love present and active in the person being baptized. Because baptism is a Sacrament, it is to be treated with respect, and it is never to be entered into lightly.
We believe that God loves every child whether or not that child has been baptized and believe that God’s love for the child does not begin at baptism. This means we believe that people who die without having been baptized will not be condemned, lost or damned because they have not been baptized. Baptism is not a requirement for salvation, nor a magic charm. Please consider this belief when you are making your decision about baptism.
The United Church Statement of Faith says this about baptism:
Before conscious thought or action on our part, we are born into the brokenness of this world. Before conscious thought or action on our part, we are surrounded by God’s redeeming love. Baptism by water in the name of the Holy Trinity is the means by which we are received, at any age, into the covenanted community of the church. It is the ritual that signifies our rebirth in faith and cleansing by the power of God. Baptism signifies the nurturing, sustaining, and transforming power of God’s love and our grateful response to that grace.
In the United Church, as in many other Christian denominations, baptism is primarily an act of initiation. Through baptism Christians are made part of the universal Christian Church, and, specifically, the United Church of Canada and Kedron United congregation. In the United Church we believe that God’s love is not in any way dependent upon our ability to understand it, and so we practice infant baptism as well as adult baptism. Because little children cannot themselves make the decision to be baptized, their parents or guardians and the church act on their behalf. In baptism, children officially become Christians. Our hope is that they will grow in the faith and that when they are old enough to decide for themselves they will choose to be Confirmed. Confirmation is an act through which people make public profession of their faith and are accepted as full members in the United Church of Canada.
WILL YOU BAPTIZE ME OR MY BABY?
If you are interested in talking to us about baptism for yourself or for your child, please contact us and we will be glad to set up an appointment to try to answer any questions you may have and to discuss what baptism means in the United Church. You do not have to attend Kedron to be baptized at Kedron, and no one genuinely seeking baptism will be turned away. There is no cost for baptism.
WHEN MAY I HAVE MY CHILD BAPTIZED?
Baptisms are celebrated throughout the year. The name of the person to be baptized will be presented to the Official Board at Kedron United Church and a mutually agreed upon date will be arranged between those seeking baptism and the minister.
WILL OTHER DENOMINATIONS RECOGNIZE THE BAPTISM?
In Christian tradition, a person is only baptized once. Denominations that baptize infants will recognize the baptism done at Kedron United Church as a legitimate baptism. For parents who wish to send their children to Catholic Schools, the baptism done at Kedron United Church will be recognized because the Roman Catholic Church considers baptisms done in the United Church legitimate baptisms.