Baptism is one of the joyous gatherings of family, friends and church. Besides being one of the Episcopal Church’s major Sacrament, it is a major ritual and tradition in many of our families.
Once a child is old enough to understand what is about to take place, about three years of age, it is important to include the child in preparation for Baptism. Once Baptized, it is important to have a celebration annually of this important milestone in the child’s life and in the family life. It is a reminder of the spiritual/faith journey that was started and a good time to reevaluate where we are on that path.
Child Preparation/Family Preparation:
- Start by reading Jesus’ Baptism (Luke1-2; Matthew 1-2:15).
- Discuss what other stories in the Bible involving water? (Noah, Exodus, Woman at the Well)
- What does Baptism mean to the parents?
- Talk about Baptism (The Book of Common Prayer pages 858-859) for parents and older children. For younger, put in simple words what is written in the BCP.
- For children 10 and under, I read with them: Today is a Baptism Day by Anna V. Osteneo Moore. Asking at each page, I wonder what this means to you? Add to what is said to help them grasp an understanding of what the Baptism Covenant is.
- Review the “what will happen” at the Baptism (the mechanics) to the child.
- This is a special day! Discuss ways to celebrate this day and going forward each year.
- At home, ask them to look at other family member’s baptisms’ pictures, candles, bulletins, and other memorabilia. I give them a copy of the book to reread a few times before the big day and encourage them to call me or come see me with any questions that may come up.
Celebrating an Anniversary of Baptism- Here are ideas and ways to honor the day in the years to come! The family is encouraged to develop their own tradition to celebrate. Ideas include:
- Lighting their Baptismal Candle and each family member saying a blessing about the person and closing it with prayer.
- Giving the child a book of age appropriate prayers or Bible with the whole family encircling the child or laying hands on the child while a prayer is said.
- Get out pictures from the child’s Baptism, with each person saying how the child has grown in faith or on their life journey. Close the time with the child having a cupcake or some small celebration treat after a prayer is said for the child.
- Ask the Godparents over for dinner on each anniversary of the Baptism or some other person who is important in the child’s faith life.
- Each person in the family writes a short poem or prayer for the child and then reads them out loud while the Baptismal Candle is lit. Put them in a scrap book that is added to each year.