On the day of baptism, seating will be reserved for you, your family and friends in the front of the church. Please be at the church at least 15 minutes before the service so that the pastor can go over the final details with you. Immediately preceding the baptism, parents, child and sponsors will be invited to gather around the baptismal font facing the congregation. You will have a copy of “The Rite for Holy Baptism” to follow during the baptism. You will receive a white towel with a baptismal symbol embroidered on it as a gift. A representative of the congregation will present you with a baptismal candle of behalf of the congregation. Parents will receive a “water droplet” with your child’s name on it, to be pinned to the baptismal banner.
Because baptism is a worship experience, photos are not to be taken during the service. Videotaping from the balcony is acceptable, and photos may be taken after the service. Please inform any family members who are worshipping with you of this practice.
A special note for families that live some distance from Evangelical Lutheran Church:
Because the promises made in baptism are important (see sections that follow), we at ELC want to provide genuine encouragement to parents of the baptismal candidate. This means that families living some distance away from ELC who are unable to regularly participate in the life and mission of this congregation will first be encouraged to pursue baptism at their local congregation. The pastors will also gladly assist individuals in finding a local congregation should they not be active members of a congregation where they live. In special circumstances and upon consultation and with the permission of ELC’s pastors and a pastor of the families’ local congregation, the child may be baptized at ELC with membership being transferred to their local congregation. All other procedures listed in this guide would apply as well.
Holy Baptism is … God’s promises – Church’s Promises
In Baptism, God promises to:
- Make your child a child of God, for your child will be baptized in God’s name (Matthew 28:19)
- Wash your child clean of sin (Acts 22:16)
- Give your child the Holy Spirit, which will enable your child to call upon Jesus as Lord (Titus3:5)
- Make your child a member of the body of Christ, the Church (Romans 6:5), and
- Grant your child eternal life (Mark 16:16)
In birth, we join a fallen and needy human family. In baptism we are brought by God into His family, there to be loved, cared for and nourished by God. As the pastor pours water on your child and speaks the Word of God, it is God who addresses your child with these promises and who will faithfully accomplish them in your child. In this gift from God, your child will begin a whole new life, a life led by Christ instead of a life driven by sin.
In presenting your child for Baptism you are doing a wonderful thing. You are assisting your child to receive a precious gift, God’s gift of eternal love. Through Baptism, for the rest of life, your child can be sure of God’s faithful and unconditional love.
When you present your child for Baptism, you also make very important promises. You promise to:
- Help your child grow in faith by the devotional and prayer life in your home.
- Help your child grow in faith within the community of faith, the Church, and
- Take every opportunity to show your child God’s steadfast love and mercy given in Baptism.
When you present your child to receive Holy Baptism, you take upon yourself the responsibility to tell your child of the wonderful promises that God gives in Baptism. You promise to do all that you can to cultivate in your child the hope, peace, joy, love, and meaning that is part of the life of a child of God. You are promising to do such things as read the Bible with your child, worship regularly within a community of faith, and teach them about the Christian faith at home.
You need to consider the magnitude of the promises that God gives your child in Baptism, promises more valuable than anything the world can give. You also need to consider how foolish it would be for your child to live even one day without knowing God’s love shown in Christ and through Baptism. Truly, the promises you make when you present your child for Holy Baptism are the most important promises that you will ever make to your child.
The occasion of your child’s Baptism deserves your careful, intentional, and honest consideration on how you will fulfill your Baptismal promises. This event also gives you an opportunity to consider your own Christian life. For your own benefit and for the benefit of your child, please answer the following questions. It can be a guide for you as you faithfully try to live up to your promises.
Prayer is the way that we can talk with God. It is also a way for us to share joys and sorrows with each other. When will you pray together?
Devotional times with your child are not only a time to share your faith together, but they are also a good way to grow in faith. Reading Bible stories and having daily devotions will help both your child and your relationship. When will you have devotions together?
Worship participation with your child is one of the promises you make at Baptism. How often will you worship together?
Christian Education is essential for your child. The church will help you by providing Sunday School, Milestone Ministry, and other opportunities, but we also encourage you to learn more about your faith so that you may be a better teacher for your child. How will you and your child participate in Christian education?
Service toward others is one way we grow into our Baptism and live out our faith. When your child is older, what are some ways you can help others?
Celebrating Baptismal Anniversaries will be a great help for your child to realize and appreciate their Baptism. What are some special things you will do to remember your child’s Baptismal anniversary?
When your child is baptized, we, your Christian brothers and sisters, promise to:
- Look upon your child as an important member of our Christian community
- Support you in making God’s promises known to your child
- Support you in keeping the promises that you make to your child at Baptism
When your child is baptized during the worship service, we the members of Evangelical Lutheran Church, give you and your child our word that we will help you in the lifelong affirmation of faith.
One of the ways that we help parents in passing on the faith is through a program called Milestone Ministry. Beginning with baptism and at various milestones in your child’s life, you and your child are invited to attend faith learning events at ELC, and participate in worship celebrations marking each milestone and reaffirming the promises of baptism. The first of these milestones after baptism is called Anniversary of Baptism, and is celebrated on Baptism of our Lord Sunday (usually the first Sunday in January). As your child grows in years, you will be invited to participate in other milestones such as beginning Sunday school, receiving a Bible, first communion, and confirmation.
You and your child’s regular attendance at the many worship opportunities we offer will also be an important way to be fed with God’s Word and grow in care and concern for each other and the world.
People often wish to have sponsors, sometimes called “Godparents”, for their child. The role of a sponsor is to aid parents in the promises they make to God and their child. Sponsors, therefore, need to be baptized Christians who view Baptism as a sacramental gift from God, who will regularly pray for your child, who will remember your child on the Baptismal anniversary, and who will provide a Christian witness in the way they live. This usually means that a sponsor is an active member of a Christian church. In addition to the sponsors you may choose, the members of ELC will also be your child’s sponsors and promise to do all these things for your child.