The baptism of a child is a happy occasion, a celebration of God’s love for the child, and all of us. And it is your opportunity as a parent or guardian to commit yourself publicly to raising your child within the Christian faith.
Do not feel, however, that you will be doing this alone!
The people and clergy of St. Michael’s will be making a commitment to support and encourage you in every way they can. Many of us have experienced the challenges of helping a child to know and love God in a society which so often tugs in the opposite direction.
The Christian journey is never solitary. We support one another and, together, we reach out to the world around us with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
If you are not already a member of St. Michael’s, you will soon discover that we come in a variety of age groups, backgrounds, interests and lifestyles. You'll have no trouble fitting in.
Below, we have tried to answer the most commonly asked questions about baptism. If you still have any questions after reading this, do not hesitate to contact the clergy.
What is Baptism?
Baptism is a sacrament. That means it is given to us by Christ himself as an outward and visible sign of God's gracious work within us. The Bible talks about baptism in terms of a "washing away of sin," a "dying to our old life, and rising again to a new life in Christ." Baptism and faith are the means by which a person is united with Christ and made a member of his company of disciples, the church.
Should I have my child baptised?
Baptism is entirely appropriate for the children of Christian believers. Parents who are themselves baptised and profess the Christian faith should bring their children for baptism if they:
• Commit to giving their child a Christian upbringing within the church family.
• Accept responsibility for bringing their child regularly to participate in the Eucharist.
• Are willing to partner with the church in providing spiritual nurture and support to their child.
If only one parent is in a position to make these commitments, only he or she will answer for the child in the service. If neither parent is prepared to take on these commitments, baptism is almost certainly inappropriate. In such cases, children may come forward of their own accord when they are old enough to make their own commitment.
What if I don't attend church?
If you don't presently attend church, then we warmly invite you to join us! We won’t be keeping a record of your attendance Sunday by Sunday. All that is expected is that you do your best to participate in the life of your church.
At the baptism of your child you will be giving your word in front of your friends, family and church to “continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers.” We know you will want to make that commitment with integrity, and we shall endeavour to support your decision.
To join St. Michael’s, simply introduce yourself to the clergy after a Sunday morning service and then contact the church office during weekday business hours to have your name added to the parish list. How about this Sunday?
What if I live out of town?
If you are an active Anglican living in a different city and have a personal reason for wanting the baptism to take place at St. Michael’s, we are pleased to assist. We simply ask that you be an active member of your home church and that you receive the preparation that is offered there. A letter certifying that you have fulfilled the requirements for baptism is then sent by your parish priest to our own rector. Provided that we have been given sufficient notice and can fit you into one of our scheduled baptisms, we shall be pleased to do so.
Is a private baptism possible?
Because baptism is the means by which one becomes a member of Christ’s flock, the flock must be in attendance. During the baptism, the congregation makes a commitment to nurture a person in his or her spiritual growth. They must be present to do so!
There are very rare and extenuating cases where we have no choice but to celebrate a baptism without the congregation present. Please request an appointment with the clergy if you feel this may apply to the baptism you are planning.
How do I choose sponsors?
When you are considering possible sponsors (godparents), please remember that these are people who will assist in the Christian nurture of your child.
• The people you choose should be baptised and active participants in their own churches (not necessarily Anglican).
• The custom is to choose two men and one woman to sponsor a boy and vice versa for a girl. However, this is not a hard and fast rule. It is not the number of godparents or their gender that matters, so much as their ability and willingness to meet their responsibilities. You should wait until you have first discussed the matter with the clergy before you ask someone to be a sponsor.
Do sponsors have to be present?
It is, of course, preferable for sponsors to be present for the baptism of their godchild.. When circumstances do not permit, they can be included in other ways. Their names are recorded in the church register and certificates made out in their names. Proxies may stand in for them but it is not necessary. The main thing to remember is that the role of sponsor entails far more than just a few minutes in a liturgy. A sponsor makes a lifetime commitment to support their godchild through prayer and example.
Can I request a particular date?
We understand that finding a date when everybody you want at a baptism can be there is not always easy. It is equally complicated for the church. We receive many requests for baptism and can only fit them into public worship at certain times in the church year. It is important to make your application as early as possible to avoid unnecessarily delaying the baptism.
What does the preparation entail?
We ask all people who come for baptism to participate in a pre-baptismal preparation. Since St. Michael’s is a relatively small church, this is usually done individually by the clergy with the parents and godparents. Normally, a couple of sessions will suffice. These may take place in your home or at the church, whichever is convenient for you.
How do I apply for baptism and confirm the date?
To begin the process, please call the church office at 416-299-9592 and request an appointment with the clergy. The date for your child’s baptism will be confirmed after that meeting has taken place.