Must I be a church member to have my child baptized?
If you are not a member of St. Paul’s United Church, Milton, we’ll support your request to have a child baptized. We believe baptism is especially meaningful when you are connected to the congregation, and so we encourage you to worship with your child, and hopefully feel at home in this community of faith.
What about God-parents?
In the United Church of Canada, every member of the congregation becomes your child’s ‘God-parent’. This is, in fact, what we promise when children are baptized:
…to commit ourselves anew to the nurture and support
of this child and of this community in Christ.
As well, you may choose to establish a special relationship with others who will have particular responsibility for your child. If so, you are encouraged to have them stand with you during the Baptism.
What about a Private Service?
Since Baptism is about your child’s relationship with the community of faith, the Service of Baptism normally occurs during a regular Sunday morning worship time where the whole congregation can participate. In some extraordinary cases, arrangements may be made for the Service of Baptism to be held at another time/place.
What if I don’t live in Milton?
Sometimes, although they are living in another community, parents wish to have the Service of Baptism in St. Paul’s United Church, Milton, where grandparents/parents and others may attend. In such a case, the people of St. Paul’s United Church act as representatives of the congregation which will be the church family of the child.
It is, of course, helpful and hopeful that the parents have a relationship with the other church family before the Baptism takes place.
What happens in the Service of Baptism?
First, the parents will gather early, with God-parents where there are such. Parents and God-parents will enter the sanctuary (place of worship) in procession at the beginning of the Service, to assume seating reserved for you.
The Baptism ceremony occurs early in the worship time, before the children leave for Sunday School. This allows all children to be reminded of the importance of their place in the church.
The family names will be called out, and parents and God-parents will stand to respond to the vows together. Following that, the family units will be called forward individually to the Baptismal Font. The officiating minister will ask the child’s name (either parent or both can respond) and take the child from the parent holding him/her.
If the child is unhappy about being taken by the minister, the parent may hold him/her and move to the font (which holds the water). There is no reason for making the experience a bad one for the child (or the parent!). Following the baptism, the child is introduced to the congregation and returned to the other parent.
You will receive a Baptism candle and a Baptismal Certificate, and then return to your seat. The next family will then be invited to participate similarly. For the sake of the child, please feel free to make use of the Nursery facilities provided. Check the Certificate and notify the Church Office immediately if any of the information recorded is incorrect.
Are photographs or videotaping allowed?
We ask that photographers and videographers not disrupt the worship by engaging in photography during the Baptism ceremony. However, you are certainly welcome to do so following the worship. If you wish, the minister will be happy to join you for pictures as soon as possible following the completion of the worship time. At no time during the worship do we want to contend with people moving about with flashes and lights.