Baptism is the sacrament of rebirth. We are born into a family, but, in baptism, we are reborn into a community of faith. As Christians, we believe that through baptism we are purified, sanctified, and welcomed into the body of Christ, who is the Church. In our Episcopal tradition and in most other Christian traditions, baptism involves naming, the renunciation of sin, making baptismal promises, and initiation into the Christian community. St. Gregory of Nazianzus says of baptism: “It is called gift because it is conferred on those who bring nothing of their own; grace since it is given even to the guilty; baptism because sin is buried in the water; anointing for it is priestly and royal as are those who are anointed; enlightenment because it radiates light; clothing since it veils our shame; bath because it washes; and seal as it is our guard and the sign of God’s Lordship.”
Infant and child baptism at St. Wilfrid’s assumes that one or both parents are practicing Christians and are active in the church. For the baptismal service to have meaning for the church and family, we ask parents attend St. Wifrid’s regularly before we explore the possibility of baptizing their child in this faith community. This gives parents an opportunity to decide whether to become members of our church family. We also ask and expect parents to participate in classes exploring the Christian faith or individual meetings with the clergy.
For those parents who do not yet feel able to make the promises contained in the baptismal service, or do not wish to attend St. Wilfrid’s regularly, an alternative service of thanksgiving is available and appropriate. For more information, please contact the clergy.