Thinking about being baptised or having your children baptised? The information outlined below will help you decide what to do next.
What is baptism?
This is a Sacrament in that it was commanded and ordered by Jesus when he was here. His last recorded words from the Gospel of Matthew tell his followers to baptise others.
Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptise them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age.” Mat 28:19-20
We also understand Baptism to be an expression of the faith of the parents. In the Church of Scotland infant Baptism is one of our traditions. Obviously when a baby is baptised it is not in a position to express faith for itself. Parents take promises of behalf of their child that they will raise them in the knowledge of God and be good examples to them of what it means to be a Christian.
These are the two vows associated with baptism:
In presenting your children for baptism, do you confess your faith in God as your heavenly Father, in Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord, and in the Holy Spirit as your sanctifier?
Do you promise depending on the grace of God, to teach your children the truths and duties of the Christian faith; and by prayer and example to bring them up in the life and worship of the Church?
It is not a naming ceremony of any kind. The name with which a child is registered is their name regardless of whether they have been baptised or not.
Neither is it a guarantee of a good and prosperous life. We belief God loves all his people and seeks the best for everyone.
For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. John 3:16
What are the rules for baptism?
Because baptism is so tied to faith the church has firm rules with regard to baptism. One or either parent should be a church member or be in the process of being a church member. If neither is a member a grandparent or recognised guardian who is a member can act as sponsor for the child.
What do you mean by in the process of being a church member?
At Granton we use the Alpha Course (http://www.alpha.org/) to help those looking to become members explore what faith means today. We therefore require anyone who is considering having their children baptised to go through an Alpha Course.
The reasons for these rules are that you cannot pass on a faith you do not practice yourself. Nor can you pass on a model of living you do not subscribe to.
What about baptism as an adult?
If you wish to be baptised as an adult you take the vows for yourself. Likewise we would ask that you go through an Alpha course as well as being a regular participant at worship and be involved in the on-going life of the congregation.
What if I do not fulfil the vows?
A child is a great gift that many parents wish to thank God for. In recognising this the Church of Scotland and Granton Parish Church offer parents a service of blessing where children are presented to God and public thanks are given.
What are the first steps for either baptism or blessing?
Please contact the minister who will then be happy to arrange a meeting with you where all these matters can be discussed.
Is there a cost for baptism?
No. If you wish to make a donation to the church, it will be used to help its work in the community and beyond.
Can I have the baptism in a private ceremony?
Baptism is entry into the Christian community of the congregation. Keeping the promises means being part of that community on a continuing basis. It would be strange to exclude the community which you were promising to be a part of. So except in very exceptional circumstances such as life threatening illness all baptisms are part of the public service of worship which takes place on Sunday mornings.
How does it actually happen?
As mentioned above it takes place within the morning worship service on Sunday. This means the service is primarily a worship service which we would ask all baptismal guests to respect. There will be opportunities for photos after the service but not during. Please respect others who are worshipping.
What happens after baptism?
The vows taken by the parents or the person being baptised commit them to a way of life that is not time limited. We expect people to take their vows seriously. We expect parents to model a Christian way of life to their children so that when their children are old enough to make up their own minds they have experience of what it means to be a Christian today.
To help the congregation offers a community where you will be prayed for and where you will always have an assured welcome.
Should you need any other help, please do not be afraid to ask.