What Is Baptism

Baptism is the way by which the Church includes persons into the family of God.  We understand that baptized persons have made a decision to live in a new way and with a new meaning.  Through Baptism a person becomes a full member of the Church community and is included in all its privileges and responsibilities.

Baptism is a sign of new life in Christ and unites a person to the life of Christ.  When we are baptized we make a commitment to follow the way of life revealed in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  This means that we are willing to let go of our old ways of seeing ourselves and others.  We make a conscious decision to respect ourselves and others, to grow in our ability to live in harmony with others, and to forgive when others hurt us.  We believe that we have a responsibility to resist evil in our own lives and to work to transform society into a caring family which is centered in Christ’s passionate love for the world.

If we are bringing children to be baptized we make a commitment to bring them up to understand God’s purpose for the world and to encourage them to participate in bringing about this purpose.  As baptized individuals or parents of a child being baptized we also promise to support the work of the Steinbach congregation and the United Church of Canada through our gifts of time, talent, and financial resources. 

If parents are not ready to make the promises of Baptism until the child is able to make a personal decision, the congregation also offers a service of dedication and thanksgiving to God for the gift of the child’s life.

Who May Be Baptized

Adults who believe that God is calling them into the Christian way of life are invited to be baptized.  As well, any parent who has been baptized and wishes his or her children to participate in God’s creative activity may bring a child forward to be baptized.  If there is a second parent who is not baptized, we would expect that parent to agree to the baptism of the child.  Baptism will be available to anyone regardless of faith background, race, gender, sexual orientation, social economic status, ability, or previous marital or sexual relationship status. 

Who Are The Sponsors

Sponsors are baptized representatives of the congregation who become involved with the baptized person near the beginning of the process and continue that involvement for one year following.  The sponsors form a supportive link between the person to be baptized and the congregation.  The sponsors are committed to pray for the baptized person as well as stay in touch in person, by phone or by mail. 

As well as the congregation’s sponsor, the baptized person may choose a family member or friend to participate in the baptism as a personal sponsor.  In the case of child baptisms this role is often called the “Godparent”.  This is an important role and may be filled by a baptized person of any Christian community.

When Does Baptism Take Place

Because baptism is the way by which persons become members of the Christian community the participation and support of the congregation is of central importance.  For this reason Baptism takes place in the context of a regularly scheduled worship service.

How Long Is The Period Leading to Baptism

The process leading to Baptism includes several important steps.  From the first request for Baptism to the actual event will require at least 6 weeks.  This is to allow for a serious consideration of the implications for the person to be baptized and for the Church.  Trusting in the wise purposed of God we will be ready to go slowly and thoroughly.  In some rare cases the Baptism could be done in a shorter time.