Baptism

Baptism has been a practice of the Christian fellowship since its earliest days. Jesus came to John the Baptist to be baptized. His baptism marked the beginning of his ministry. When the church began its ministry of preaching on the day of Pentecost, the Apostles called upon those who believe in Jesus to "repent and be baptized." From that time on baptism has been the accepted sign of entrance into the Christian life and fellowship.

Baptism is one of the two sacraments recognized in The United Methodist Church. The other is Holy Communion. A sacrament is most satisfactorily defined as "an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual truth." It is sometimes called "the acted out Word of God" in contrast to the written Word of God (the Scriptures) and the spoken Word of God (sermon, music). A sacrament is a part of the church's ministry by which the gospel of Jesus Christ is communicated and shared. Through the sacraments the Church proclaims, celebrates and communicates the gospel. Baptism is not a private act of individuals but an act of the Church on behalf of God.

Baptism is a sign of "the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ." Grace means unmerited, unearned favor; it means freely given love. The fundamental truth of the gospel is that "God loved us first."

Baptism is also the act of entrance into the Christian fellowship. By baptism we are initiated into Christ's Holy Church and marked as disciples (learners and followers) of Jesus Christ.

Youth and adults may receive Christian baptism after meeting with one of our pastors. These baptisms are usually scheduled on a "New Member Sunday" or at the time of confirmation, though other times are acceptable also.

An infant's baptism usually takes place when the child is about three months old, but any age is acceptable. Soon after the birth or adoption of a child, parents are encouraged to call Cindy Moore (321-8500, ext.8822) to schedule the child's baptism.

All baptisms are celebrated during one of the two regular worship services on Sunday mornings (8:45 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.). Baptisms are not scheduled on Communion Sundays, on Confirmation Sunday, Palm Sunday or Easter Sunday, or other services when the sacrament itself would not be able to receive the importance it deserves.

When the baptism is scheduled, an appointment to talk to the officiating minister is also scheduled to discuss the specifics of the service.

For more information about Baptism, please contact the church at westendinfo@westendumc.org