Holy Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body the Church. It is a public statement of one’s intentional decision to follow the way of Jesus. In the case of infant baptism, it is the parents’ declaration of their intent to raise a child in the way of Jesus.
When you choose to be baptized yourself or to have your child baptized at St. Anne’s, it means you are choosing to live out the Baptismal Covenant in the context of our church community, taking your part in the worship, mission, and ministries of St. Anne’s. Baptism is open to all people who desire to follow Jesus as their Lord, regardless of age or background.
The bond which God establishes in Baptism is indissoluble, so baptism is only administered once.
If you feel called to be baptized at St. Anne’s, or to have your child baptized, the first steps are to attend worship regularly and to talk to one of the clergy about baptism. At St. Anne’s, we require adult candidates for baptism to undertake some intentional preparation, typically in the form of the Rector’s semiannual Episcopal 101 class. Parents and godparents of infant candidates are asked to meet privately with the Rector for preparation and discussion on raising their child in the life of the Church.
Baptism should be regarded as the beginning of a spiritual path, not the culmination of one. It is not necessary that a candidate for baptism fully understand or be comfortable with every word of the Christian Creeds and doctrines from the outset, but rather be ready to embark on the rich path of discovery into the way, truth, and life of Jesus Christ.
Who Can Be Baptized at St. Anne’s?
Baptism is not “into” a congregation or a denomination; it is “into” Christ and Christ’s universal Church. One’s local congregation, however, has a huge role to play in the life of a newly baptized person. For that reason, baptism at St. Anne’s is most appropriate for—though not exclusive to—those who intend to continue their spiritual journey at St. Anne’s. We do, on occasion, baptize out-of-town grandchildren of current St. Anne’s members, but our preference is for these children to experience baptism within the context of their own home churches, where their local congregations can commit to supporting them in their life in Christ.
Parents who wish to have their children baptized but who are not actively engaged in regular worship should first reexamine their own commitments before requesting baptism for their children.
Sponsors & Godparents
All candidates for baptism should have a sponsor who is a baptized Christian, preferably a current member of St. Anne’s. Sponsors of adults and older children present their candidates and thereby signify their endorsement of the candidates and their intention to support them by prayer and example in their Christian life.
Sponsors of infants, commonly called godparents, present their candidates, make promises in their own names, and also take vows on behalf of their candidates. Parents should be deliberate in how they choose godparents for their children. Please choose godparents who will take a keen, lifelong interest in the spiritual welfare of your child and who will actively nurture him or her in the faith.
Pouring v. Immersion
Episcopalians hold that baptism is fully valid whether one is immersed in the water or has it poured upon him or her.
Baptisms at St. Anne’s are generally administered by pouring water upon the candidate, except at the Great Vigil of Easter where baptisms are administered by full immersion.
In the Episcopal Church, there is no such thing a “christening.” Baptism is baptism, whether young or old, dunked or sprinkled.
When Are Baptisms Offered?
Holy Baptism is rooted in the life of the Christian community and is administered during Sunday worship with the congregation gathered. For that reason, we generally do not offer private baptisms except in cases of extreme emergency. Baptisms at St. Anne’s are typically reserved for the holy days listed below; other days may be available at the discretion of the Rector. We generally do not administer baptisms during the penitential season of Lent.
- The Great Easter Vigil (Easter Sunday)
- The Day of Pentecost (May/June)
- The Bishop’s Visitation (October)
- All Saints’ Sunday (November)
- The Feast of the Baptism of our Lord (January)
What If I’m Already Baptized?
If you are new to the Episcopal Church and have already been baptized in another Christian denomination, we recognize your baptism. You may wish to renew your faith life, in which case you may be Received or Confirmed. Visit our Joining St. Anne’s page to learn more about these rites.
Portions adapted with gratitude from http://www.dioceseny.org/pages/74-baptism.