If you live locally and your first visit to St Mary's has been with a group of friends and family plus a baby, then you have probably experienced a church baptism. The sacrament of baptism usually takes place as part of a normal Sunday morning service and may involve a single child or several people - children and adults.
For many people baptism is indeed a chance to experience a church service for the first time. At St Mary's they can be sure of a warm and very personal welcome from the Rector, Kevan McCormack, who will involve the whole congregation in what is happening: we the Christian community confirm our collective faith as the child or adult is baptised.
Baptism literally means "plunging" just as Jesus was dunked in the River Jordan by John the Baptist. Water is both a sign of life and a symbol of death; when we are baptised our old life is buried (by the waters) and we are raised to a new life with Christ: we are identified with him. Modern baptism also involves getting wet, usually with a few drops of baptismal water, as part of a cleansing process, but it is also a formal and physical welcome into God's church. Parents decide to have their baby baptised because they have a faith and are choosing to make the baby part of God's family - it is another part of the nurturing process.
|Q||What is Baptism?|
|A||Baptism is a sacrament: a visible sign of God's love.|
|Q||What is the difference between baptism and christening?|
|A||None, they're just different words for the same thing.|
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