What is a baptism?
Baptism, at its most practical level, means gaining membership to the Church. There would be few Anglicans or Christians however, who would regard Baptism as only that.
Baptism is a sacrament where God is at work, an outward and visible sign of the inward and invisible action in which God engages, as the person being baptised makes promises in the way that they seek to live and are then washed in the waters of baptism. This marks the beginning of a new relationship with God and the person who has been baptised.
Who can get baptised?
Baptism is open to anyone who seeks to belong to the Anglican Church of Australia. Historically baptism has taken place when children are very young and not able to answer for themselves. When this happens, parents and godparents or sponsors make promises on the child’s behalf. Up until the last few decades, this would have been the norm. There are now many people who have not been baptised as a child. We now see many more people asking for baptism as adults.
How do I organise a baptism for myself or my child?
If you would like your child to be baptised or feel you are ready to be baptised yourself, you can contact the vicar at a church near you to begin the journey. You may be asked by the vicar to attend a few sessions where you will explore what it means to be a Christian. Once ready, you can talk with the vicar about a proposed date for your baptism. The baptism service is special moment where a person’s relationship with God begins, and may involve the one person being baptised or more, depending on the circumstances.
What happens during baptism?
Baptism involves making promises before God about the way one chooses to live, stating your belief in God (the Apostles Creed), then being ritually washed by sprinkling with or immersing in water which has been blessed, and having the sign of the cross made on you, sometimes with blessed oil.
If the person is too young to make these promises themselves, the parents will usually choose godparents who will make promises for and on behalf of the child. It’s worth knowing that a godparent needs to be physically present during the ceremony in order to make these promises.
The normal practice within the Anglican Church when a person has been baptised as a child is to be confirmed by the Bishop or Archbishop at a later time.
Baptism in the Anglican Church is normally accepted as suitable for membership in any of the mainstream or orthodox Christian traditions.