How do I? Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals

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What is a sacrament?

The sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means which we receive that grace. Grace is God's favor toward us, unearned and undserved: by grace God forgives our sins, enlightens our minds, stirs our hearts, and strengthen our wills. The two great sacraments given by Christ to his Church are Holy Baptism and Holy Eucharist.

Book of Common Prayer p. 857.


Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ's Body.

Baptism normally occurs shortly after a child is born, but can happen at any point in a person’s life.

Holy Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body, the Church. Baptism is about relationships–with God, with the church, and with Family. Holy Baptism is the sacrament by which God adopts us as his children and makes us members of Christ’s Body, the church, and inheritors of the kingdom of God. Baptism is seen as a first step in response to God’s love. The wider community of the local church and friends welcome the new Christian, promising support and prayer for the future. In other words, the child’s parents and godparents make promises to raise the child to know God and to allow them to follow Jesus as a member of the church, and the assembled community promises to support the family in raising the child as a Christian. The service marks the start of a journey of faith – which involves, turning toward Christ, and becoming a member of the local and worldwide Christian Family. It’s the beginning of a lifetime of learning about Jesus, the Church and the world.

FAQs about Baptism

Does the Episcopal Church baptize infants?

Yes, as with the Eucharist, we do not believe that a certain “understanding” of the proceedings is necessary for the sacrament to be valid. We believe that our appreciation and understanding of the Eucharist will grow as we grow.

I would like to get my child baptized. How should I go about doing this?

It is important to understand that baptism is not just a ceremony – it is a spiritual commitment on behalf of the parents and the congregation of Christ Church, before God to care for and raise a child as a Christian. It is not something to be entered into lightly, and is definitely not something we do on short notice.

I would like a private baptism. Can I arrange this?

While some parishes of the Episcopal church may offer private baptism, Christ Church does not. We believe that baptism marks the entrance of a new member into our Christian community, and we believe that the community should be part of this joyous occasion. If you desire to be baptized but are physically unable to make it to Christ Church due to reasons such as a serious illness or physical infirmity, we will most certainly still be able to help you.

I was baptized in another Christian denomination. Do I need to be “re-baptized?”

While the complete answer to this question is complex, for the vast majority of people, the simple answer is no. The Episcopal Church, along with the Roman Catholic Church and most other “mainline” churches, recognize baptism done with water in the name of the Trinity (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit) as a valid baptism.

I am not sure if I have been baptized. What should I do?

If you are unsure if you have been baptized (for example, if you think you might have been baptized as an infant but cannot find any information about it, or if you are unsure whether the name of the Trinity was used), the Episcopal Church offers a service called conditional baptism.

Does the Episcopal Church practice immersion baptism?

The answer to this question is complex, but for the vast majority of parishes in the Episcopal Church, including Christ Church, the answer is no. Most parishes practice baptism by pouring (affusion), similar to what is found in most mainline Protestant and Roman Catholic churches.

What is the appropriate clothing for the one being baptized?

It is entirely up to the one being baptized or their guardians what to wear.

Interested in starting the Baptism Process or have more Questions?