Baptisms and Thanksgivings
As part of the Great Commission, in the final chapter of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus instructs his disciples to, ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you’ (28:19-20).
Baptism is a symbolic washing by water with prayer. It involves calling on the name of the Lord for salvation (Acts 22:16). The Anglican Articles of Religion describe baptism as ‘a sign of regeneration or new birth’.
St Mark’s is willing and pleased to baptise people of any age, who are prepared to commit their life to Jesus Christ and who are dedicated to being regular members and attendees of St Mark’s Parish on Sundays. If you are interested in baptism, the first step is to come along to one of our three Sunday church services (9am, 11am, or 6pm), and then speak to one of the ministers after the service. Afterwards, there is a planned time for meeting with the minister, discussing the sacrament of baptism and what being a committed member of the Body of Christ entails.
The Anglican Articles of Religion speak of baptism as ‘a sign of regeneration or new birth’, in which the promises of the forgiveness of sin and of our adoption to be the sons of God ‘are visibly signed and sealed by virtue of prayer unto God’ (article 27).
God wants our children to experience a loving home, to gain wisdom, to live generously for the good of all, to grow in faith, and to come at last to share in his eternal kingdom.
Children, who are to be baptised, make promises through their sponsors (parents and godparents). For this reason, the sponsors are required to declare their Christian faith publicly, agree with the teaching in the Apostles’ Creed and promise to live as a disciple of Christ, which requires a commitment to gathering regularly with other church members. The congregation also promises to support the sponsors in their vows.
If sponsors are unable to agree with all the teaching of the Apostles’ Creed, or are unable to be committed to attending a regular Sunday service, then a thanksgiving service for a child is an appropriate option instead. A thanksgiving service does not replace regular baptism; rather, it provides an opportunity to thank God for the birth of a child, to declare the name of the child, and to seek God’s blessing upon the family. The parents are not asked to make a profession of faith in Christ. Friends or family members may be invited to stand with the parents, so to encourage them in their role.
Baptisms are usually conducted on the first Sunday of the month, in the context of the wider 9am church service.