Children and Baptism at EUCC
Pondering the significance of Adult Baptism

Liturgy for Infant Baptism

This liturgy was written for the Evangelical United Church of Christ community on the occasion of the baptism of Caroline on August 27, 2006. I had the unique privelege of working with Caroline's moms to identify words and phrases which express the faith that they wish to proclaim. Having found little in terms of "progressive" baptismal liturgy already online, I share this in hopes that it will inspire more writing. Helpful resources along the way included the UCC Book of Worship, writings by Rex. A. Hunt, and Ruth Duck's "Gender and the Name of God."

Following the tradition of Jesus who welcomed children into his community, we celebrate the presence of children within this community of faith and offer to children the sacrament of baptism. As we invite Caroline and her parents to come forward to day and celebrate the sacrament of baptism, we acknowledge the diverse religious traditions of her parents' parents. Finding a path between the tradition of infant baptism and the personal profession of faith in the Anabaptist tradition affords a unique opportunity to identify the particular faith being expressed here this day. Fully respecting the diversity of the community gathered, we affirm the love of God made known in this child and the sacredness of the covenant shared between this child, her parents, and this congregation to support this child as she lives and grows in faith.

Questions of the Parents/Family:

Do you desire to have your child baptized into this Christian community?

Will you encourage your child to learn from the wisdom of the prophets; doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with her God?

Will you foster for your child an appreciation for the life and teachings of Jesus in concert with an appreciation for diverse religious traditions?

Will you teach your child to honor the faith questions that belong to her throughout her life?

Will you journey with your child to discover the wonder of God's love made manifest here this day?

Congregational Assent:
Jesus calls us to welcome children into the full life of our community, opening our table and hearts to those most vulnerable, offering the wisdom of the ages to all who hunger for truth.
Do you, who witness and celebrate this sacrament, promise your love, support, and care to this child being baptized as she lives and grows in this Christian community?
[We promise our love support and care.]

Affirmation of Faith:
Do you believe in God the Source, the fountain of life? (I believe in God.)

Do you believe in Christ the Servant, embodied in Jesus of Nazareth and in the church? (I believe in Christ.)
Do you believe in the Spirit the Guide, the liberating wellspring of life? (I believe in the Spirit.)

Baptismal Prayer:
We thank you, God, for the gift of creation made known to us in water and word. Before the world had shape and form, your Spirit moved over the waters. Out of the waters of the deep, you formed the firmament and brought forth the earth to sustain all life. In the time of Moses, your people Israel passed through the Red Sea waters from slavery to freedom and crossed the flowing Jordan to enter the promised land. You have come to us through water in the stories of Jesus who was nurtured in the water of Mary's womb, baptized by John in the water of the Jordan, and became living water to a woman at the Samaritan well. Jesus washed the feet of the disciples and sent them forth to baptize with water and spirit. Bless by your Holy Spirit, gracious God, this water. Bless all who touch and taste this water that may be ever reminded of your abiding presence and claim on their lives. Amen. (UCC Book of Worship, adapted)

Act of Baptism:
By what name will this child be called? [name]
I baptize you with faith in the living God, Source, Servant and Guide.

May the Spirit be upon you, child of God, disciple of Christ, and member of the Christian church.

Prayer of Dedication: (prayed in unison)
God of wonder and grace, we thank you for your love revealed here this day as this community, these parents, and this child come together making covenant promises.
We pray that this community will have the grace to uphold the promises made here this day , providing a safe shelter of your love in which this child may grow and play.
We pray that these parents may continue to feel the sweet wonder of your presence so transparent here today.
We pray that this child will bask in your love as she makes her own journey through this life.

Presentation of the Child:

The congregation is invited to stand and share in singing "I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry" as the child is introduced.


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