Baptisms can be arranged by contacting the pastor. Either the parents, grandparents, or the sponsor of the child should be a member of Wharton United Community Church at St. John's. You do not have to be a member of the church to have your child baptized here. We just ask that you come to worship with us for at least a month (so you can make sure that this is the Christian community where you would like to raise your child) and then connect with a member who can sponsor you during the baptism.
About Baptism. . .
We receive our identity from others, from the expectations of friends and colleagues, the labels society puts upon us, the influence of family. To become Christian is to receive a new identity. You no longer allow others to tell you who you are. Christ now claims you and instructs you. A Christian is one who has "put on Christ." Baptism celebrates becoming that new person. That is why the Church's ritual begins with putting off the old, renouncing sin and evil powers of the world, and pledging our loyalty to Christ.
God Initiates the Covenant.
We believe that in baptism, God initiates a covenant with us, announced with the words, "The Holy Spirit works within you, that being born through water and the Spirit, you may be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ." This is followed by the sign-act of laying hands on the head.
God Has Chosen Us.
The most important thing about us, our true identity, is that we are now sons and daughters of God. That is why the introduction to the Baptismal Covenant states, "We are incorporated into God's might acts of salvation and given new birth through water and the Spirit."
Why Baptize Babies?
From the earliest times children and infants were baptized and included in the Church. Some recite Jesus' words, "Let the children come to me, for such is the Kingdom of God" as scriptural authority for this ancient tradition. However, a more consistent argument is that baptism, as a means of grace, signifies God's initiative in the process of salvation.
Baptism is Forever.
Because baptism is a sacrament of God's grace, and a covenant God has initiated, it should not be repeated. God's continuing and patient forgiveness, God's prevenient grace, will prompt us to renew the commitment first made at our baptism.
Baptism is the Beginning, Not the End.
Baptism is the beginning of a life-long journey of faith. For the child, the journey begins in the nurturing community of the Church, where he or she learns what it means that God loves you. At the appropriate time, the child will make his or her first confession of faith in the ritual the Church traditionally calls confirmation.
What is a Sacrament?
The word "sacrament" is the Latin translation of the Greek word "mysterion". From the early days of the church, baptism was associated with the mystery that surrounds God's action in our lives.
- Taken from a pamphlet prepared by Mark C. Trotter.