Baptism celebrates God’s initiative and our response. It is God’s ‘yes’ to us and our ‘yes’ to God. It is a sign of the divine-human covenant. Baptism flows from God’s unmerited grace and pours out in lives of gratitude and commitment. As initiation into the church, the body of Christ, it is an act of welcoming, blessing and belonging. Our baptismal identity is both individual and communal. It is individual through vows made by a candidate speaking on his/her own behalf or by the parent(s) or guardian(s), speaking on behalf of the child; and communal through vows made by the congregation.
Requirements for Baptism at Westminster United Church
Anyone wishing to receive the Sacrament of Baptism is required to contact the minister. The names of those to be baptized are to be presented to the Church Council. Before baptism takes place, with the exception of an emergency, all candidates or parents or guardians are to meet with the minister for information and discussion. The celebration of baptism is held within the context of the regular Sunday worship service.
Role of Godparents
The role of Godparents in the United Church of Canada traditionally has been filled by the whole congregation. However, some parents or candidates may choose to call upon the support of special family members and friends. This may be particularly meaningful for persons from different cultural or religious backgrounds.
A sacrament is a visible and physical event. When celebrating baptism or the renewal of baptismal faith, it is important for the font and the pouring of water to be clearly visible. The other essential symbolic action is the visible laying on of hands with prayer. Other symbolic actions may include: making the sign of the cross with water, lighting of a baptismal candle from the Christ candle, presentation of a Bible, rose or other gifts, presentation of a certificate and acts of welcome.
The congregation will invite and encourage individuals and families to enter fully into the life and work of the church community. The congregation, in response to its vows, will provide programs for spiritual nurture and education and will support and uphold the baptized individual within our community of faith.