This page presents an overview of the sacrament of Holy Baptism and preparation for Baptism at St. Luke’s. There are two preparation programs: Infants and young children (under age 16) and the Catechumenate (for adults and teens, typically 16 and older).
We currently describe our program for infants and children.
Classes take place on the select Sunday mornings from 10:45 AM – 12:00 PM in the St. Luke’s Library. Nursery/Child care is provided during the class.
If you have questions please speak with Elizabeth Tompkins, parish catechist. To sign-up for baptism preparation and a baptism date, please contact us.
Introduction to Holy Baptism
Holy Baptism is Full Initiation into the Church:
“Holy Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body the Church. The bond which God establishes in Baptism is indissoluble.” (BCP, p. 298) No other rite is required to complete becoming a Christian. The mark that God makes on the baptized’s soul can never be removed – God will love the baptized with a love that won’t let us go.
Baptism in Scripture and Tradition:
St. Paul referred to baptism as: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20)
In baptism we enter the Body of Christ as we are adopted as God’s children in Christ. We who were many become one Body in Christ. We become buried with Christ in his death and share in his risen life.
Jesus himself was baptized as an example that all who come to him must be baptized (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22).
In the Great Commission (Matthew 26:16-20), Jesus instructs his disciples to baptize others. There are numerous examples of the practice of baptism in even the earliest days of the Church.
Receiving the Sacrament of Baptism:
A Sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means by which we receive that grace. The outward and visible sign of Baptism is water and being baptized in the baptismal formula Jesus commanded: “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” The inward and spiritual grace of baptism is union with Christ in his death and resurrection, birth into God’s family the Church, forgiveness of sins, and new life in the Holy Spirit.
Baptism and participation in the Eucharist:
As Baptism is full initiation into the life of the Body of Christ, the Church, all Christians are called to participate in Holy Communion. In fact, the Book of Common Prayer states that the two great sacraments of Christ are Baptism and Eucharist and they are required of all Christians.
Infant communion was practiced in the Western Church from the earliest times until the 13th Century and has always been the practice of the Eastern Church. The practice of receiving Communion for all the baptized is being reclaimed in the Anglican tradition as this practice is understood as the original intent of the union between Baptism and The Eucharist.
The Role of the Congregation:
The congregations role in supporting the newly baptized in their life in Christ is crucially important. The growth in the Christian life of faith includes concern and support of the entire parish family. We are to be a caring and supportive community so the newly baptized can develop as members of the Body of Christ.
Baptism Preparation Overview
Welcome to the preparation for baptism. This is a truly exciting and wonderful journey that promises to be filled with God’s presence and abundant grace. Our baptism preparation course is intended for the parents and godparents of infants and children (under age 16) who are candidates for Holy Baptism.
Children who have reached a discerning age that enables them to present themselves for baptism, and are not yet 16 years old, also participate in this baptism preparation course with the assistance of their parents and godparents. Please speak with Fr. Randall or Elizabeth to receive guidance about this.
What is important to recognize is that baptism is a sacred commitment and is not to be entered into lightly. Baptism is not something we enter because “it is what we do in our family” or by simply stating that “I’m a Christian so I want my child to be baptized.” Baptism has little to do with what many of the pre-conceived notions of how society – and even many Christians – would define baptism. Baptism is a counter-cultural way of life that is rooted in the ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Baptized persons are called to a radically different way of life that expresses God’s love and grace.
Over three sessions, we engage in prayer and conversation to help you better understand the gifts and responsibilities of Baptism – for the newly baptized Christian and the parents and godparents. Baptism is much more than a brief ceremony within The Holy Eucharist. Once baptized, we receive God’s grace in a new way and are called to a life of service as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Baptism is full initiation into the Body of Christ – the Church – and is the beginning of the Christian’s journey of discovering what it means to live a baptized life.
Responsibilities for Participation
We have made every effort to develop a baptism preparation course that is meaningful and provides sufficient opportunity to explore the importance of baptism. The course should not be viewed as a “hoop to jump trough” or simply “something that needs to be completed” prior to baptism. Neither does the course serve as a “barrier to entry” to the Christian community. It does, however, convey the tremendous importance and seriousness of baptism and asks that you discern the deep commitment of the Baptismal Covenant and how God calls us to live baptized lives.
To accomplish this, you will need to participate in one of the baptism preparation courses offered at St. Luke’s prior to the baptism. Ideally you will participate in the course that is grouped with a specific baptism date. However, you may participate in any of the courses prior to the baptism date.
Because there are only three sessions in a course (and we cover important topics in each), you will need to attend all three sessions. In the event that you miss a session, you may make that session up in one of the other courses offered at St. Luke’s (prior to the baptism date). Making every effort to attend all sessions of your course section is more fulfilling and easier for all of us involved).
You are also asked to participate with the candidate for baptism in the “Enrollment of Candidates” ceremony at the 9:30 worship held on the assigned Sunday (which will always be a Sunday of one of the preparation classes). The candidates for Holy Baptism are formally enrolled and their names are added to the Prayers of the People and St. Luke’s Intercessory Prayer list so that they are prayed for each week leading up to the baptism.