By baptism a person is adopted into God’s family and is made a full member of the church. A person who has been baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in another Christian community does not need to be baptized again when they join an Episcopal church.
If you would like someone in your family to be Baptized at Holy Comforter, please contact Liz Bleich in the Church Office (703-938-6521). Liz will help you choose one of the upcoming dates when Baptisms will be administered and answer your question. She will also ask you to complete a Baptism Application, which can be downloaded HERE. Please return it to her via email.
Baptism is one of the two great sacraments of the church—the other is the Holy Eucharist. By a “sacrament,” we mean something outwardly visible that represents something inward and not visible.
In baptism the visible is the water poured on the head and the oil inscribed on the forehead. The invisible is that God surrounds us with God’s love, and promises to love us forever, no matter what we do. And God welcomes us into the community of faith, where we can grow into being followers of Christ. Our baptism is our response to God’s love.
A person, including an infant or young child, who is baptized may participate fully in the life of the church, including receiving the bread and wine—the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ—at the Eucharist.
Adults, Children, Infants
In The Episcopal Church a person can be baptized at any age. Adults and older children agree to be baptized and make certain promises on their own behalf. If an infant or younger child is presented for baptism, parents and sponsors (godparents) make the promises for them.
Dates of Baptisms
Normally baptisms are held as part of a regular Sunday Eucharist on certain days designated by the church:
- Baptism of Jesus (first or second Sunday in January)
- The Easter Vigil (Saturday evening before Easter Day)
- Pentecost (mid May to mid June)
- All Saints' (Sunday after November 1)
In special situations another day or time can be arranged. You should speak with the Rector about arranging a different day. Please contact Liz Bleich in the Church Office (703-938-6521) for more information.
Parents may choose godparents who are friends or family as long as they are baptized Christians. They should be on their own journey of faith, actively participating in the community of faith. They may help the baptized child live into a life in Christ by praying for them, talking with them about their own journey, and encouraging their godchild to learn more about the faith and how to follow Christ in their life.
Godparents can create special memories with their godchildren by doing things like sending cards on the anniversary of the child’s baptism, inviting the child to participate in an age-appropriate service project, and making time for special visits to a park, concert, museum or other venue to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation.
The Baptism Service
Those being baptized, and parents and sponsors should carefully read and understand the service of Holy Baptism, which starts on page 298 of the Book of Common Prayer. The service includes:
- A commitment by parents and godparents to be responsible for seeing that the child is brought up in the Christian faith.
- A series of renunciations of evil: the evil of the spiritual forces that rebel against God, of the evil powers of the world that corrupt and destroy the creatures of God, and of the sinful desires we each have.
- A series of affirmations that we turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as Savior, that we put our whole trust in him and that we promise to follow him as Lord.
- A promise by the congregation that they will support the newly baptized in their life in Christ.
- An affirmation of the basic Christian beliefs contained in the Apostle's Creed.
- A series of promises to follow in the way of a practicing Christian by: following in the apostle's teaching and fellowship, in breaking bread and in prayer; persevering in resisting evil and whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord; proclaiming by word and example the Good News of God in Christ; seeking and serving Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself; and striving for justice and peace among all people, respecting the dignity of every human being.
- Prayers are said for those about to be baptized.
- Then the water is blessed, as we recall water in creation, in the liberation of the children of Israel, and in Jesus' own baptism. And finally the water is poured, the oil is marked on the forehead, and we pray that the newly baptized will have "an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and to love God, and the gift of joy and wonder in all God's works." And the congregation welcomes the newly baptized with great joy.