Baptism is the sacrament signifying our identity as children of God and our commitment to walk in the ways of God throughout our lives. Baptism serves, as well, as a sacrament of welcome into the Body of Christ—for children and adults. In it, we celebrate God's love and embrace for God's people as unconditional and absolute; we are “marked as Christ’s own forever,” making Baptism a sacrament that is done only once in a person’s life.
Baptism is also a time when the community of faith gathers to renew its own commitment to Christ and to support those who are being baptized in their life in Christ. So it is appropriate that baptism take place, whenever possible, in the midst of the congregation during the Holy Eucharist as the chief service on a Sunday or other feast day.
The Book of Common Prayer designates certain days in the liturgical year as being especially appropriate for the celebration of Holy Baptism. These are the Easter Vigil (Saturday night before Easter Day), the Day of Pentecost, All Saints' Day or the Sunday after All Saints' Day, the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord (the First Sunday after the Epiphany) and the Annual Bishop's Visitation.
In addition to these dates designated by the Prayer Book, we regularly offer baptism on Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. We hope this is helpful for the families of children to be baptized, no matter which of the Sunday services you typically attend. These Saturday services are conducted exactly as the Sunday services, and the whole congregation is invited to join the celebration.
Baptism dates for 2015 are:
January 11, Sunday, Baptism of Our Lord, 9:00 or 11:15 a.m.
February 14, Saturday, 10:30 a.m.
April 4, Saturday, Easter Vigil, 7:30 p.m.
April 25, Saturday, 10:30 a.m.
May 17, Sunday, Bishop's Visit, 9:00 or 11:15 a.m.
May 24, Sunday, Day of Pentecost, 10:00 a.m.
July 18, Saturday, 10:30 a.m.
October 4, Saturday, 10:30 a.m.
November 1, Sunday, All Saints' Sunday, 9:00 or 11:15 a.m.
In the early Church, adult baptisms were the norm as more and more people heard and responded to the Gospel. Adult baptisms continue to be the cause for great celebration in our church. We encourage adults who are exploring the Christian faith at St. Stephen's to discuss the possibility of baptism with one of the members of the clergy. Many adults who wish to be baptized take part in an Inquirers Class as part of their preparation.
If you wish to bring your child to be baptized, both the parents and godparents of the child will receive instruction from a member of the clergy in anticipation of this happy occasion.