Baptism is the rite of entrance into the Christian community.
If you plan on having your child baptized, you should expect to work with the
minister or priest of a particular church in preparing for this ceremony, and
each church will have a slightly different understanding of the sacrament. This
is one such service, but be prepared for differences from denomination to denomination.
Hear the words of our Lord Jesus Christ:
All authority in heaven
and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of God, the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, and teaching
them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you
always, to the end of the age.
Hear also these words from Holy Scripture:
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your
calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism,one God and Creator of all, who is above
all and through all and in all.
The minister addresses the parents presenting
children for baptism:
Do you desire that _______ be baptized?
The parents respond: We do.
Minister: Relying on God's grace, do
you promise to walk in the way of Christ and teach that way to your child?
The minister addresses the congregation:
Do we, as members
of this extended family promise to guide and nurture _______ by word and deed,
with love and prayer, encouraging her (him) to walk in the way of Christ and his
peace, standing up for Gods justice in this world?
Thanksgiving Over the Water
Minister: The Lord
be with you. People: And also with you.
Minister: Let us give thanks
to the Lord our God. People: It is right to give our thanks and praise.
We give you thanks, O God, for you nourish and sustain all living things by the
gift of water. In the beginning of time, your Spirit moved over the watery chaos,
calling forth life itself.
You led the people of God out of slavery,
through the waters of the sea, into the freedom of the promised land.
In the waters of Jordan Jesus was baptized by John and filled with your Spirit
which gives life to all.
We thank you, O God, for the water of baptism.
Through it we cleansed of our sins and reminded that all good things come from
God, especially the gift of life.
The minister may touch the water.
Send your Spirit to move over this water as it did on the day creation, that _______
may fully share in the creative and life giving power and Spirit of God.
_______, I baptize you in the name of God, the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.
O Lord, uphold _______ by your Holy Spirit. Give him/her the spirit of
wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit
of knowledge and the fear of the Lord, the spirit of joy in your presence,
both now and forever. Amen.
The minister then says to all assembled:
The peace of Christ be with you.
They respond: And also with
Baptismal Prayer (the minister):
Gracious God, giver of
all life, we pray for _______ and _______ (the parents): Give them wisdom
and patience to guide their child in the way of Jesus Christ. Let your
peace and joy dwell in their home, that they and this extended family may
live in faith, hope and love, these three; that their family life may
be instructed by faith, sustained by prayer and governed by love. Strengthen
them in their own baptism, that they may rejoice as children of God,
and serve you faithfully, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen The passing
of the peace. (The minister will sometimes carry the newly baptized infant,
in the case of infant baptism, through the isles of the church introducing her/him
to the congregation.)
A note about God parents. Some denominations include
"God parents," in the service. These are often close relatives or friends
whom the parents designate to take special responsibility for the spiritual life
of their growing children. In other traditions, the congregation itself acts as
"sponsor," taking responsibility for the Christian education and upbringing
of all baptized children.
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The Rev. Charles P. Henderson is a Presbyterian minister and
Executive Director of CrossCurrents.
He is the author of God and Science (John Knox Press, 1986).
A revised and expanded version of the book is appearing here. God and Science (Hypertext Edition,
He is also editor of a new book, featuring articles by world class scientists and theologians, and illustrating the leading views on the relationship between science and religion: Faith, Science and the Future (CrossCurrents Press, 2007).
Charles also tracks the boundry between the virtual and the real at his blog: Next World Design, focusing on the mediation of art, science and spirituality in the metaverse.