Baptism

Revd Rex A E Hunt
eMail:  rexae@optusnet.com.au
Web site:  www.rexaehuntprogressive.com


CELEBRATING BELONGING: THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM

Presentation
(N) and (N)
have come today to present their daughter/son for baptism.

I also present (N) who is glad to be welcoming
a new sister/brother into the family
and (N) and (N) who are supporting the family in love.

The narrative
Hear these words from the stories of our faith:

People brought little children to Jesus, for him to lay his hand on them and say a prayer.
The disciples turned them away, but Jesus said:
‘Let the little children alone,
and do not stop them coming to me,
for it is to such as these that the reign of God belongs.'

Then he laid his hands on them...

Baptism is the church's way
of celebrating and naming the grace of God
living in everyone of God's children.

It is the way we initiate new members
into the life of the universal community of faith.

And it marks the entry point
into the life-time pilgrimage of following in the Way of Jesus.

The request
(N) and (N)
by what name is your child to be known?
Par. (NN).

How did you come to decide on these names?
Par. (Response).

Little one, born to love, surrounded by love,
child of the universe,
one with all that lives,
we now name you (NN).

Take this name and make it your own.

Live in freedom and fullness
as you travel your journey of life.

And what do you ask of God's church at (xx) for (NN)?
Par. We ask that s/he be baptised
into the faith and family of God’s love.

(NN), we welcome you to this family and this community.
We rejoice that you are here.

Thanksgiving
God is the heart of life.
All And we are the heartbeat.
May our hearts be filled
with thanks and praise and songs of joy.
All We rejoice in the miracle of life
and delight in our participation.  SWeinberg

For us in Australia, the driest continent on earth,
water is a precious commodity...
Water is everything.
Water is life.

We claim the joy of water
and the way it sustains and nourishes us.
All Let it flow and pour and sprinkle for all people.
That all may know each day the gift of God in water.

The biblical stories also talk of the preciousness of water.
These stories remind us
that water is a blessing and the source and strength of life.
Without it humanity and all that is created
could not survive.

And our stories remind us that God’s way is the way of compassion and love.

God's love,
like a shower of rain in drought,
awakens the sleeping seed within the soul
and lures it to blossom.

God's love,
like a paddling pool,
inspires the responsive love of children,
jumping,
splashing each other,
shivering with wet delight.

God's love,
like a hot shower after a long day's work,
cleanses us,
reawakens us.

God's love,
like waves crashing on the shore,
breaks in on us and enfolds us,
leaving us feeling vital and refreshed.
The water is poured into the font

So let's give thanks for this love
that reaches out to us in what we say and do in love for this child
whom we are welcoming into our midst.

Prayer
We gather to pray,
believing that God prays in us.

We acknowledge our responsibility
to ensure we use the resources of water well,
and make available future resources
for our children and their children.

We give thanks for the gift of this water.
May it be the birthing waters of a new and holy life.
All Amen.
The congregation stands as they are able

The baptism
(NN) in the touch of this water, the ancient symbol of new life,
I baptise you into the love, service and joy of God:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit...
Source of Life, Companion, Enlivener.
All Amen.
The minister takes the child

(NN) may the presence of the Spirit of Love in you
be nurtured and constantly affirmed by
your family,
your friends, and by
your church community.

May the sun and the stars
delight and touch your heart with fire
and so may you find passion to be creative.

May you know God’s blessing.

Blessing (Sung)
All “May the mystery of God enfold us(Tune: Marleborough Sounds)   95 AA
May the mystery of God enfold us,
may the wisdom of God uphold us,
may the fragrance of God be around us,
may the brightness of God surround us,
may the wonder of God renew us,
may the loving of God flow through us,
may the peace of God deeply move us,
may the moving of God bring us peace. Joy Cowley
During the Blessing the elder introduces the newly baptised child to the congregation.
At the end of the Blessing the congregation sits.

Responses
(N) and (N), I ask you now to respond to God's graciousness to (N)
by making these promises:

Will you provide for (N)
a welcoming home of love and trust?
Par. With God's help, we will.

Will you help (N) grow in his/her
understanding and appreciation of a broad religious faith?
Par. With God's help, we will.

Will you encourage (N)
to reach out to others with love and compassion?
Par. With God's help, we will.

(N) and (N),
you have been asked by (N) and (N) to be god parents for (N).
Will you do everything possible to ensure (NN)
is nurtured so her/his faith is healthy and strong?
Gp. We will.

Each of us knows the need for support and care
as we share in a journey of faith.

As this family gathers around this font and this water,
symbols of belonging and community,
let us pledge our care for them.
All  We stand as witnesses to the commitment this family has made this day.
And we pledge ourselves to their support and care
as they discover the ways that the Spirit
unfolds for them  (GVosper/wowg).

Baptismal prayer
We pray:
Bless this newly baptised child.
May s/he always know that the Source of all Love
lives and comes to unique expression, in her/him.
All Amen.

Gp. Bless (N) and (N),
may they always show their gratitude for the new life given them
by loving and caring for (N).
All Amen.

Bless this faithful people.
May we all live in love.
And may we continue to draw encouragement
from the faith which connects our loving
with the mystery we call ‘God’.
All Amen.

This is a day of great celebration for (NNN).
All Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Baptismal hymn
Now let (N) receive the gift of the congregation
as we stand and sing the Baptismal hymn... (xx)
Parent/s and God parent/s return to their seats

oo0oo

(Near the end of the morning liturgy the parent/s will again gather at the front of the church with the child to receive a Baptismal candle).

Baptismal candle
A lighted candle is given

(N), may this candle remind you
throughout your life, of Jesus,
who opened peoples’ minds and hearts
to see the ‘light’ of God’s presence within them.

(N) and (N) use this candle
to help you tell (N) the story of his/her baptism,
as you light it each year to remember this day.
Parents return to their seats


Some of the resources used in shaping this liturgy:
Abbott, M. 2001. Sparks of the Cosmos. Rituals for seasonal use. SA: Unley. MediaCom Education.
Alleluia Aotearoa. Hymns and songs for all churches. 1993. NZ: Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
“Baptism in a progressive church” A baptism liturgy from Verdun Uniting Church. SA.
Duncan, G. (ed). 2002. Courage to Love. An anthology of inclusive worship material. GtB: Norwich. The Canterbury Press.
Inclusive Readings. Year B. 2005. QLD: Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation.
McRae-McMahon, D. 2003.  Rituals for Life, Love and Loss. NSW: Paddington. Jane Curry Publishing.
Morwood, M. 2003. Praying a New Story. VIC: Richmond. Spectrum Publications.
Prewer, B. D. 2000. Australian Psalms. Revised and expanded. SA: Adelaide.  OpenBook Publishers.
Uniting in Worship. Leader’s Book. 1988. VIC: Melbourne. Uniting Church Press.
Vosper, G. 2008.  
With or Without God. Why the way we live is more important than what we believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins.
Wiig, R., D. McKenzie. 1998. Baptism Liturgy. "God's love, like a..." In private circulation from the authors.

Web sites/Other:
Sherri Weinberg. St Paul's Presbyterian Church. NZ: Devonport.  2005.
Michael Morwood. Baptism ceremony. 2007.  <www.greatnewstory.com>

rexae74@gmail.com