Introduction

An inquiry about baptism is always welcome. Parents of children are asked to make vows, and it
is right that they should know what they are promising and the significance of the ceremony.
They will be expected to speak with the minister who will celebrate the baptism about its meaning for their baby and for them

What is baptism?

"Baptism" is a word from the Greek language (the language of the New Testament) which means "to wash". Water is sprinkled on your child's head as a sign of the washing away of sin. Sometimes this is called Christening, literally to Christ-en, or to make Christ's. Both words refer to the same thing - the ceremony marking the welcome into the family of the Church.

Where and when does it happen?

Normally the baptism will happen in the Church as part of the Sunday Service. Baptism is about the welcome into the family of the church and it is right that it be within the context of the community of faith. In years gone by it had been the practice to baptise at home, but this would be an option only in say the case of illness.

Why baptism?

Baptism is an act of faith, and as such requires belief in the power of God. There are many reasons why people have their children baptised; but there is only one good reason. That is that parents wish to make a commitment to raise their child in a Christian family, giving them the change to learn about the love of God in Jesus Christ, so that they too might come to believe and dedicate their life to following the way of Christ.

Who can be baptised?

Baptism is for believers and their children.

One or both parents must be themselves baptised

They should be members of the Church, or intent on becoming members. (Sometimes called adherents)

This time when parents are thinking about the best for their family, is a good time to reflect upon what is important for them.

The Vows

Two questions are asked of parents bringing their children for baptism in the traditional form of the service:

           In presenting your child for baptism, desiring that she/he may be grafted into Christ as a member of his body the Church, do you receive the teaching of the Christian faith, and confess Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord.

           Do you promise, depending on the grace of God, to teach your child the truths and duties of the Christian faith; and by prayer and example to bring her/him up in the life and worship of the Church?

Parents should feel comfortable in answering these promises if they are to bring their children for baptism.

What about God-Parents

In the Church of Scotland there are no vows taken by God Parents. In fact the whole congregation, including all the family and friends present, are invited to show their willingness to share in the Christian upbringing of the child and all the children who are a part of the family of the Church. Parents do not have to have God-Parents, but they may wish to have a close friend or family member with them as "supporters"