The Sacrament of Holy Baptism, administered with water and “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” is initiation into the Christian Church. In this rite the individual is joined mystically to Jesus Christ and His Church, receives forgiveness of sins and is regenerated by the Holy Spirit.
The opening words of the Book of Common Prayer service of the Baptism of Infants describes both the need and benefits of baptism in this way [recalling John 3]:
Dearly beloved, forasmuch as all men are conceived and born in sin, and that our Saviour Christ says, none can enter into the kingdom of God, except he be regenerate and born anew of Water and of the Holy Spirit: I beseech you to call upon God the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that of his bounteous mercy he will grant to this Child that thing which by nature he cannot have; that he may be baptized with Water and the Holy Spirit, and received into Christ’s holy Church, and be made a lively member of the same.
In that service we recall the prefigurings of Christian Baptism: in the flood at the time of Noah; in the deliverance of the people of Israel out of bondage in Egypt through the Red Sea to the Promised Land; in Jesus’ baptism in the river Jordan by John; and in that Jesus shed out of his most precious side both water and blood when he was pierced on the holy Cross.
We baptize in response to Jesus’ commission to his apostles before he ascended that they should go teach all nations, and baptize them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. [Matt 28:19]
The Sacrament of Baptism is the sacrament of entrance and initiation into the Body of Christ, the “one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church” named in the Nicene Creed. Thus Baptism is a prerequisite to receiving Holy Communion at the celebration of the Holy Communion. Those who have not yet received Holy Baptism, including adults who are receiving instruction in the Christian faith, are still invited forward to the Altar Rail during Holy Communion to receive a blessing from the priest.
If you are interested in learning more about baptism for yourself or for your child, please contact our chaplain who would be most pleased to speak with you.
And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal,
proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.