BAPTISM AND CONFIRMATION

September 2020

 

The sacrament of baptism has been a major part of ministry in the circuit over the years. At a recent meeting of the presbyteral staff we reflected together on the current guidance in respect to managing risk related to Covid 19.  We also reflected on the theological, practical and pastoral aspects of celebrating Christian baptism.

 

In the light of this we have come to the conclusion that we are unable to offer baptism at this time whilst also taking all necessary steps to keep people safe.

 

We will keep this under regular review at our staff meetings as the guidance develops and changes. 

 

We will report back when we feel that it may be possible to recommence our baptismal ministry.  At that time we will need to carefully assess risk and also the impact on churches.

 

 

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According to the Methodist Worship Book, baptism (or Christening) marks entry into the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, of which the Methodist Church is part. The Methodist Church, like most denominations of the Christian Church, administers the sacrament to both adults and young children.

If you are not sure whether Baptism or an Act of Thanksgiving would be more appropriate for you and your child, talk it through with your minister, who will be able to advise.

 

Questions about Baptism and Confirmation

How do we go about getting our child baptised?


Parents wishing to have their children baptised should approach their local Methodist minister at the earliest possible moment. The minister will be able to explain what's involved.




Do different denominations have different baptisms?


There is one baptism, which is recognised by all the mainstream Churches that baptise, including the Methodist Church and the Church of England.




Can you be baptised as a child and as an adult - for instance if you return to the Church after a break?


In the Methodist Church baptism as an infant would normally be followed by confirmation and reception into membership at the point where the person wishes to take on the commitment and responsibility of Christian discipleship for themselves and to play a full part in the life of the Church. This is best summed up in the Methodist Worship Book: "In Confirmation, those who have been baptised declare their faith in Christ and are Strengthened by the Holy Spirit for continuing discipleship. Confirmation reminds us that we are baptised and that God continues to be at work in our lives: we respond by affirming that we belong to Christ and to the whole People of God. At a Service of Confirmation, baptised Christians are also received into membership of the Methodist Church and take their place as such in a local congregation." There is no obvious difference in understanding, for example, between the Methodist Church and the Church of England about Confirmation itself. However, the Church of England does not have any strong sense of "membership" of the Church of England (so, for example, there is no transfer of membership when a person moves from one area to another).




Infant Thanksgiving​


Some parents believe, on reflection, that a service of baptism is not the most appropriate service for them and their child. They may think it is too weighty in terms of their own faith, or that the promises involved go beyond what they can say with integrity.

  • Some parents may be adopting a child who has already been baptised.
  • Some may have a child who was baptised in emergency circumstances in hospital or at home.
  • Other parents, who may themselves be committed Christians, feel strongly (because baptism is so meaningful) that they want their child to be able to ask for baptism, if and when they are ready to respond for themselves.

All nevertheless want to thank God publicly now for the safe arrival of their child and express their love for that child. This can be done at a service called an 'Act of Thanksgiving after the Birth or Adoption of a Child'.

If you are not sure whether Baptism or an Act of Thanksgiving would be more appropriate for you and your child, talk it through with your minister, who will be able to advise.

The Church believes that it is God's intention that a marriage should be a life-long union in body, mind and spirit.





© The Methodist Church Stockton Circuit 2016 -- 2020
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