The early Church, following Jesus, took three primary material elements of life — water, bread, and wine — to become basic symbols of offering life to God as Jesus had offered his life. Being washed with the water of Baptism, Christians received new life in Christ and presented their bodies to be living sacrifices to God. Eating bread and drinking wine they received the sustaining presence of Christ, remembered God’s covenant promise, and pledged their obedience anew.
As Presbyterians, we are part of the Reformed tradition. The Reformed tradition understands Baptism and the Lord’s Supper to be Sacraments, instituted by God and commended by Christ. Sacraments are signs of the real presence and power of Christ in the Church, symbols of God’s action. Through the Sacraments, God seals believers in redemption, renews their identity as the people of God, and marks them for service. (Directory for Worship, W-1.3033)
Baptism is the sign and seal of incorporation into Christ. Jesus through his own baptism identified himself with sinners in order to fulfill all righteousness. Jesus in his own baptism was attested Son by the Father and was anointed with the Holy Spirit to undertake the way of the servant manifested in his sufferings, death, and resurrection. Jesus the risen Lord assured his followers of his continuing presence and power and commissioned them “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:19, NRSV).
At First Presbyterian Church, we typically celebrate this Sacrament of Baptism on the last Sunday of each month. Baptism is a corporate event and so it takes place during our service of worship, either at 8:45 or 11:00 am. We use the sprinkling of water on the person’s forehead to symbolize baptism. We invite those who are church members to present their children for baptism, and parents typically do this when their child is a baby. At other times we celebrate baptisms with older children or with adults who are making a profession of faith for the first time.
Persons desiring to be baptized, or church members desiring their child be baptized, can download this baptism request form or pick one up from the church office. After returning it, a pastor will contact you and set up a time to talk prior to the baptism.