The Presbyterian Church (USA) has two sacraments, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The sacraments provide a picture of God’s promises to us. Fourth-century theologian St. Augustine called them “outward and visible signs of an inward and spiritual grace.” Following his lead, 16th-century reformer John Calvin said sacraments are “visible words” that help strengthen faith and nurture discipleship. While the written words of Scripture teach us about God’s redemptive work in Jesus Christ, the sacraments express God’s grace in tangible ways. (Source: www.presbyterianmission.org)
Baptism is the sacrament that unites us with Jesus Christ and makes us members of the household of God. A sign and seal of God’s grace, baptism signifies the faithfulness of God, the washing away of sin, rebirth through the resurrection of Jesus, and our welcome into the covenant community of the church.
For all ages
We baptize God’s children of all ages, from infants to adults. The baptism of children witnesses to the truth that God’s love claims people before they are able to respond in faith. At the time of our baptism we begin our life of discipleship, acknowledging that baptism is both God’s gift of grace and also God’s summons to respond to that grace. Baptism gives the church its identity and commissions the church for ministry to the world.
A commitment of believers
We make promises to those who are baptized. Parents of children coming for baptism are asked to affirm, “Do you believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and relying on God’s grace, do you promise to live the Christian faith and to teach that faith to your child?”
The children of Shandon Presbyterian Church make a special promise to be friends to the child who is baptized, and they present a children’s Bible to the family as a sign of their commitment to share the stories of Jesus.
The whole congregation promises to nurture the family in faith and be of special support to baptized children until that day of Confirmation when they claim the baptismal promises for themselves.
To grow as a faith community
Because we take these promises seriously, we encourage the families of baptized children to be involved in the life of the church. We hope that people making this commitment will attend worship regularly and that both parents and children will attend Sunday school as a means of growing in their spiritual life together.
Uniting church and family
In accordance with the Presbyterian Book of Order, all baptisms are approved by the Session.
The baptizing pastor will meet with you and your family, usually during the week before the baptism, to talk with you about the service.
A Shandon elder will stand with you during the baptism as a representative of the congregation. When you call the office to arrange for baptism, you may request the participation of a particular active elder, if you like.
Pews in front of the baptismal font may be reserved for family and friends.
Please know that since baptisms take place as a part of worship, pictures may not be taken during the service. The pastor will be glad to join you after the service if you would like to take pictures in the sanctuary.
Families may provide flowers for their baptism if that particular Sunday has not already been reserved to commemorate another occasion. If you are interested in sponsoring flowers in the sanctuary, please check with the church office.
To schedule a baptism, contact Rev. Jenny McDevitt at (803) 771-4408 or firstname.lastname@example.org.