Questions & Answers

 

What does Baptism signify?
An outward and visible sign of the grace of God through which a person is joined with the universal church, the body of Christ. God works in us the power of forgiveness, the renewal of the spirit, and the knowledge of the call to be God’s people always.

 

How does Baptism take place?
Baptism with water and the Holy Spirit is the sign and seal of our common discipleship. Since baptism is God’s gift, the Holy Spirit is called to be upon the water and those being baptized. It marks the beginning of new life of discipleship with Christ, the human response to that gift.

 

Why is water used?
Water is a prominent symbol of cleansing and life in the Bible – the water of creation, the great flood, the liberation of Israel through the sea, the water of Mary’s womb, the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, the woman at the well, and Jesus’ washing of the feet of the disciples and is therefore an essential element to baptism. The mode of baptism is a matter of choice between sprinkling, pouring, or full immersion

 

Who is baptized in the United Church of Christ?
Infants and children, as well as youth and adults who have never been baptized before. This marks their acceptance into the care of Christ’s church, the sign and seal of God’s grace and forgiveness, and the beginning of their Christian faith and life. 

 

When and where should a person be baptized?
Baptism may be celebrated at any worship service where the community is gathered. If circumstances require baptism to take place outside of corporate worship members of the local church may participate in the ceremony with the pastor. Baptism may be celebrated at any worship service where the community is gathered.

Are sponsors present?
Parents, in consultation with the pastor, may choose sponsors or Godparents for infants and young children. Other candidates for baptism may also be given this opportunity to have sponsors. At the time of the baptismal service the sponsors who accompany the candidates and present them for baptism may make promises identical to the promises of the parents concerning their role.

 

What words are used?
The Book of Worship of the United Church of Christ provides an order for Baptism and orders for affirmation of Baptism. Our baptism is recognized by the ecumenical church and encourages the use of language recognized in most Christian churches: “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

 

Is re-baptism necessary?
The United Church of Christ recognizes the validity of all baptisms, therefore, there is no need for re-baptism. If there is a question about whether baptism has taken place, a conditional phrase may be added during baptism such as “if you are not already baptized.” It is a well-accepted practice for people to renew their baptismal vows in a service such as the Order for Renewal of Baptism in the UCC Book of Worship.

 

Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ … – Acts 2:38

 

For in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ Jesus have clothed yourself with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
– Galatians 3:26-28

These church teachings about Baptism come from the website www.ucc.org and more information can be found there regarding your questions about the United Church of Christ.

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