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Baptism at Milford Presbyterian Church

By April 23, 2013September 20th, 2023No Comments

Do I need to be baptized?

Because we understand baptism to be a sign—something that points us to a deeper reality—and seal—a tangible mark that claims us—of the grace-filled work that God has already begun in each of us, we believe that baptism only needs to be administered once. It doesn’t matter what denomination, as long as it was a Christian baptism (i.e., in the name of the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).

If you have never been baptized and you desire to join the mission and ministry of MPC as a member, take a look at our Membership page and sign up for our next new member’s class. Your baptism will take place as a part of that process.

Can my child be baptized?

If you (and/or your spouse) are a member of MPC, then your child can be baptized.

Should I have my children baptized, or should I wait until they’re old enough to decide for themselves?

This is a question that the Christian church has been divided over for centuries. Some traditions practice what is generally referred to as believer’s baptism, in which a person must be old enough to make a personal profession of faith before being baptized.

In infant baptism, parents present a child for baptism who is far too young to make a personal profession of faith. In this case, the parents reaffirm their own faith and claim the promise of God’s love and forgiveness on the child’s behalf.

At MPC, we practice infant baptism because we believe that before we do anything, God is there first. Before we profess our faith, God has already been at work planting seeds of faith and tending them. What’s more, we acknowledge that nothing we do, whether actions or professions of faith, makes us deserving of God’s grace; it is a gift freely given.

For this reason, we urge families to present their children for baptism as a sign of the work that God has already begun in their children’s lives. When older, children will have the opportunity to confirm their faith by making a public profession and becoming members of the church (this process is called confirmation).

What is happening in baptism?

In one manner of speaking, nothing. Sins are not forgiven in baptism. Salvation is not gained. The water is not magic, and the pastor is not a magician. But this is the nature of a sacrament: unless it is understood through eyes of faith, it is empty.

In another manner of speaking, a great deal is happening in baptism. By some great mystery, the very Spirit of God is present in the water. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the water serves for everyone present as a reminder of God’s grace, a mark of inclusion in God’s covenant community, and a sign of our collective new life in Christ.

Why does baptism happen during a worship service?

Because baptism is a sign of our incorporation into the body of Christ, we celebrate the sacrament when the community of faith is gathered together. When someone is baptized, the congregation promises to guide and support that person in his or her life of faith, and in this way the whole church serves as the sponsor (a.k.a. “godparent”) for those baptized.

Still have questions?

Pastor Bryant Anderson would love to have more conversation with you about it.