The Sacrament of Baptism
Baptism is one of two sacraments, or “sacred acts” that Jesus commanded his followers to observe, the other being the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
Baptism is the act of initiation into the Christian faith and into the Christian Church. It is not simply a blessing, but rather a welcoming into the family of faith and the first step in the journey that is the Christian life. It has little meaning if it is unrelated to a firm commitment to the ongoing life of Christian faith.
In the Presbyterian tradition, both children and adults may be baptized, though most Presbyterian parents choose to have their children baptized as infants. The meaning of the sacrament varies slightly between that of adults and that of infants.
In adult baptism, the theological emphasis is on the covenant commitment of the new believer, the one being baptized who makes answer to the questions of commitment. New adult members of the congregation who have never been baptized are baptized on the day they make a public profession of faith and join the congregation. In order to join FPC, one must attend an Inquirers' Class which are offered three times a year.
In infant baptism, the emphasis is on God’s grace offered to us in the sacrament and the covenant commitment of the parents and congregation who answer the baptismal questions and promise to nurture the child being baptized in the Christian faith.
The Time and Place of Baptism
Baptism, whether that of infants or adults, occurs on Sunday mornings in the context of the worship of the congregation. Baptism is not a private act, but a public commitment and an act of the gathered church.
Infant Baptism and the Church Membership of Parents
At least one parent of a child being baptized must be an active member who regularly participates in the work and worship of First Presbyterian Church.
When children are baptized, their parents are asked to make statements of Christian faith and commitment that imply membership in the church. In baptism, the congregation also makes promises to help raise the child in the faith and it cannot make that promise if the family is not local and involved in the life of the congregation.
To schedule a baptism, please call the church office at 203 324-9522.
Infant baptisms are scheduled for the third Sunday of October, December, February, April and June.
It is the Session (the ruling body) of the church who authorize baptisms and so parents are required to meet with the Session usually on the Sunday morning a week prior to the date of the baptism.
Baptism and Sponsors or “Godparents”
In Presbyterian tradition, the entire congregation, on behalf of the whole church, commits itself to support the child’s parents in nurturing their child in the Christian faith. Such a commitment means that additional sponsors, or “Godparents” as they are sometimes known, are optional.