Baptism is Christian initiation. Through baptism, we are welcomed to the family of God. We acknowledge and celebrate the grace of God, freely offered to us before we were even aware of it. We confess our sin, and vow to trust in and serve Jesus Christ as our Lord. Baptism is the outward and visible sign of our covenant (holy agreement) with God to accept God’s gifts of freedom and power and to grow in faith through the constant efforts of the Holy Spirit.
When are Baptisms scheduled?
In the United Methodist Church, baptism is a communal celebration which almost always occurs during a regular worship service. After the baptism, the congregation vows to nurture and support those being baptized—adults, youth, children or infants. Baptisms are scheduled through the senior pastor.
At what age?
Baptism may occur at any age.
- Infants – We support and encourage the practice of infant baptism (see Acts 2:38-39; 16:15, 33). At your infant’s baptism service, you and the entire community of faith pledge to surround your child with Christian nurture and teaching. The support continues as children grow in understanding and prepare to profess and confirm their faith for themselves. Often children are confirmed as sixth graders after instruction that leads to a Confirmation service.
- Young people and adults – If you have never been baptized and wish to become a Christian and join the church, you may profess your faith and be baptized into membership. If you are considering baptism, you are encouraged to contact a pastor to learn more about the Christian faith.
How much water?
We believe the amount of water is less important than its symbolism. Water cleanses and purifies and is necessary for all life. It reminds us that we need to be washed and renewed, purified by God’s love and by the ongoing work and power of the Holy Spirit.
Sprinkling, pouring, and immersion are all acceptable ways to be baptized in The United Methodist Church. Typically at West U Methodist, we participate in God’s baptism plan by sprinkling a small amount of water from the font in the sanctuary on the candidate’s head, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.