Today I got to witness a Baptism service at St. Aidan Anglican Church. My family has been trying out St. Aidan for the past 6 weeks or so, treatment as we continue to pray for God’s guidance as to where we are to worship.
The Baptism service was for two school-aged children (ages 8-10). Each baptismal candidate had sponsors (like God-parents), pills those Christians who agreed to stand up with and present them for baptism.
After the sponsors presented the candidates, the candidates were led through a series of questions: Do you renounce Satan, evil, all sinful desires? Do you turn to Jesus. do you trust in His grace, do you promise to obey?
Then, together the congregation prays over the candidates, and in a saying and response, the Pastor leads the congregation in a the “Thanksgiving over the Water.”
Together, the congregation recites “The Baptismal Covenant”, with the new candidates committing themselves to Jesus, and the congregation, renewing their baptismal covenant. This Baptismal Covenant is based off of the Apostles’ Creed, followed by a series of questions posed by the Pastor, followed by the repeated response from the congregation, “I will, with God’s help.”
In this particular church, the method of baptism was pouring, three times to signify Father, Son and Holy Spirit. After which, the newly baptized Christian is given a candle signifying that they have received the light of Christ and passed from a life of darkness, to a life of light.
* I really appreciated the corporate nature of this baptismal ceremony. Very often, in evangelical services, the baptism is a very individualistic affair. The candidate gives a testimony as to why they want to be baptized, and proclaiming what Christ has done in their lives. And then the congregation watches as the candidate is baptized. Here in the Anglican service, the entire congregation participated. Together we affirmed the candidates, promised to walk along side them, and renewed our commitment to Jesus.
* I really appreciated the liturgy: the questions posed to the candidates, and the renewal of the baptismal covenant formed off the Apostles’ Creed.
* There was something about the communal nature of the baptismal service that made communion (which followed the baptism) even more poignant.
* I was struck, especially since this was “All Saints’ Sunday,” by the amazing fact that the church is bigger than this current generation. When we enter into the Body of Christ we are joining 2,000 years of Christians who have yielded to the grace and mercy of Christ’s amazing work, and 2,000 years worth of Christians have laboured, struggled, and rejoiced in serving God.