Friday, November 26, 2010

A Service of Infant Baptism

This Sunday (Advent 1a) our son Joseph, who just turned one on Wednesday, will receive the sacrament of baptism.  Gloria and I are thrilled that the timing worked out so that our family from both sides is able to be present.  (Our now-3-yr-old Andrew was baptized at St. Mary's Cathedral in Glasgow, so none of our family were able to share in the service.)  My dad, a Nazarene elder and pastor from Nashville, TN, is in town to officiate my cousin's wedding on Saturday, so he'll be able to preside over his grandson's baptism on Sunday as well, which is about as perfect a solution we could ever come up with in this time of pastoral transition at Xenia Naz.

I thought I'd share the liturgy I've put together for the service.  I value your feedback and welcome you to use it, adapt it, share it or rewrite it as you find useful.
I almost lost count of how many different sources I drew from in putting this together. I used The Book of Common Prayer (ECUSA 1979), Common Worship (2000), the Scottish Episcopal Church's 2006 liturgy for Holy Baptism, Dr. Middendorff's Church Rituals Handbook (2nd ed.), and some resources J.B. Chapman sent me that he used in the baptism of his own children.

Our Assistant District Superintendent, Rev. Mark Atherton, is serving as our interim pastor right now.  We've discussed the service extensively, and he has been totally supportive of us baptizing Joseph in this manner.  He will introduce the ritual and take advantage of the "teaching opportunity" it provides the congregation, and then he will tie the baptism to his sermon about what it means to be part of the Church Universal.

From what I've gathered, this may well be the first infant baptism Xenia Naz has ever experienced. We figure with the stamp of both the Assistant DS and my dad, controversy is unlikely, but we don't want it to simply go over without objection or criticism - we want it to be an edifying worship experience for our community. Pray with us that God uses this sacrament in a way that is not only a means of grace in Joseph's life, but to our church family as well, as we are called to remember and reaffirm our own baptisms into Christ's Body the Church.


Lily Robinson said...

After reading it, I thoroughly look forward to this service! (Not that I didn't before...) I do feel that the words you have chosen are teaching words as well. I wouldn't change a thing.

I don't recall an infant baptism, but I do remember Pastor Gumm stating multiple times that our church believes in both dedication and baptism, and that it was up to the family to decide.

J.B. Chapman said...

BH - I am sure today has been a special day in your families life. I know personally the experience of having a father who is a COTN pastor be involved in the baptism of my children (btw - I had to convince him the COTN allowed for paedobaptism by pointing it out in the manual), and it is truly special. I am sure it was a beautiful service for the whole community as well. It amazed me how many comments (positively) I received after my children's baptism at KC 1st and our Dist. Assembly. Though 2 days later, one pastor during the baptismal service by the lake, told everyone that my son had not be baptized since he had not made a proclamation of faith. :)

My only comment on the liturgy, is how wonderful it is to be in a place theologically where we can draw from so many eclectic (maybe) sources. And yet, knowing that most within the COTN have no understanding of how deep our wells are.