When a baby, a child, young person or adult come for baptism in the Christian Church something special happens. In fact, to be truthful, a number of things happen. But most significantly it marks the beginning of a great journey.
First of all there is preparation beforehand. For babies and young children the parents should have an understanding of not just what will happen at the time of the baptism but also what it is about. There are promises to be made. These promises focus on what it means to be a Christian and whether or not you actually believe the Christian faith. In the case of the young person or the adult then they would be the ones receiving the preparation. But either way the first point of contact is the rector who will guide you.
Jesus was baptised. In his case he was an adult but we offer baptism to people of every age because no one is ever too old or too young to follow what he did. Water is essential in baptism. Normally water is poured over the head of the person being baptised. Three times this is done “in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit”, signifying the way God comes to us. The most Holy Trinity, is for Christian the fullest encounter with the living God.
Holy oil has been used through the centuries as a sign of God’s favour. In the Old Testament, solemn anointings indicated those called for a specific task in God’ kingdom. Being baptized into the anointed body of Christ, we are called to the priesthood of all people, by living a life of prayer; to be prophets, by announcing the Word of God; and to be royal, by leading with integrity.
By its nature, oil softens, heals, comforts, and protects. The oil of catechumens is used in the sign of the cross, as a preparation. This oil, a sign of strength, imparts the power to resist evil. The person being baptised, strengthened by the gift of God’s Spirit, will be guided and guarded by God on every step of life’s journey. The use of the cross, is an ancient symbol ‘marking’ us as Christ’s with a symbol of his life, death and rising from death.
The chrism is composed of olive oil and balsam(fragrance). Perfumed oil has the unique quality of both attracting others and setting apart the one who is using it. This oil, placed on the crown of the head, calls us to be the, “good fragrance of Christ.” 2 Cor 2:15. It is the same oil used to anoint, monarchs, bishops and priests. We all stand as Christ’s anointed one people, equal before God.
A lit candle is also given to the person being baptised. This is a simple, but effective, reminder that we are to follow the light of Christ in the life we live. It is lit from the great paschal candle of Easter, and calls us to bring the light of the risen Christ to the world.
Sometimes Godparents make the vows with the parents of the person being baptised or, and especially if the person being baptised is an adult, with the person being baptised. It is good, though not essential, to have Godparents (who are sometimes called sponsors). They also need to be able to make the promises and vows of baptism with the same good conscience as everyone else.
Baptism marks a new starting point for the person who is being baptised and it is the task of everyone around that person to support them in the new Christian life they are to live.
Some questions which might arise:
How much does it cost?
NOTHING, this is a gift and we welcome you.
Who should I contact about being baptised?
The rector or one of the wardens.
When can I be baptised?
Anytime, in an emergency, however normally, we do not baptise in Advent, (the period before Christmas) or Lent, (the period before Easter).
Do I have to be a member of the Scottish Episcopal Church in Monklands?
Not at all. Baptism is the great gateway to membership in the body of Christ, of which we are all only a part.
How long does it take?
This depends on individual circumstances. You will need to speak to the rector.