Baptism & Blessing

Some Questions and Answers

 

    DO I HAVE TO BE A MEMBER OF WOODLAWN UNITED CHURCH (WUC) TO HAVE A CHILD BAPTIZED?

Yes, a requirement for having a child baptized is that at least one of the parents must be a member in good standing at Woodlawn United Church. 

The United Church of Canada Manual states:
A person becomes a full member through one of the following ways:
(a) adult baptism and profession of faith;
(b) confirmation, if the person was baptized as a child and has now reached the 
age of understanding;
(c) reaffirmation of Christian faith, if the person has already been baptized and 
made a profession of faith at an earlier time;
(d) through a certificate of transfer of membership in good standing from another 
congregation or church; or
(e) if the person cannot get a certificate of transfer of membership from another church, they may transfer their membership if the governing body is satisfied that they:
(i)have been baptized;
(ii) became full members of their church after they made a profession of Christian faith;
(iii) are of good Christian character; and
(iv) have valid reasons for transferring to the United Church

    WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A MEMBER "IN GOOD STANDING" AT WUC?
Baptism is about church membership. Membership is a core identity and is a journey of discipleship. Like the disciples in the Gospels themselves, none of us are perfect or ideal. We are all at different places of understanding, maturity and commitment. Regardless of where we find ourselves on our faith journey, a member "in good standing" seeks to:
•    Have a basic belief in God or the Divine and that Jesus of Nazareth plays a central role in their faith journey.
•    Actively seek, as they are able, to deepen their faith through personal and collective study; through prayer and reading scripture; through pursuing answers to questions and obstacles to faith. 
•    Attend Sunday worship as often as they are able and help build up the community of healing care
•    Discern their talents and gifts and answer their ‘call”; do their part in the mission and ministry of God, in Christ.
•    Support the mission and ministry of the church with their time, talents, and treasure as they are able.

    DO YOU HAVE PRIVATE BAPTISMAL/BLESSING SERVICES?
Because Baptism is the Sacrament by which a person becomes part of the Christian community, it is to be celebrated at the regular Sunday service, with the congregation present. However, Blessings can take place either during worship or in a more private setting.

    IS THERE A FEE FOR HAVING A CHILD BAPTIZED/BLESSED?
No.  Sometimes parents or their families may want to make a donation to the church on this special occasion.

    WHAT IF I LIVE OUT OF TOWN, BUT WANT TO HAVE MY CHILD BAPTIZED/BLESSED AT WUC BECAUSE THIS IS MY “FAMILY CHURCH”?
We would be happy to baptize your child on behalf of the congregation where you presently are a member.  Blessings can be done for anyone regardless of where they reside.

    WHAT ABOUT GODPARENTS FOR BAPTISMS?
Godparents are welcome.  If you have Godparents, we would be happy to incorporate them into the service. In the United Church we believe that the congregation normally assumes that role.

    WHAT SHOULD WE DO NOW?
Once you have thoroughly read this material, take the time to think and talk about your own relationship with the Church.
Decide whether you and your child are ready for membership and discipleship in the church. If you are ready to make this commitment, apply for Baptism. However, if you are not ready for this step at this time, the Blessing of your child should be what is requested.
If you desire to continue with the baptism/blessing, fill out the attached forms, sign them, contact the church office and book an appointment to see one of our ministers.  The church office number is 902-434- 8302. Email is office@woodlawnunited.ca 

Should I Choose Baptism or Blessing For My Child?

    I WANT TO GIVE THANKS TO GOD FOR MY CHILD’S BIRTH.
Blessing your child is a great way to give thanks for their birth. This is done as part of a Blessing or Baptism. 
Baptism is about much more than this however. It is about membership in the church. 

    I WANT MY CHILD TO GO TO SUNDAY SCHOOL.
Neither baptism nor blessing  is a condition for attending Sunday School. No child is ever turned away.

    I WANT TO PROTECT THEM FROM GOING TO HELL IF THEY SHOULD DIE.
Many people seek Baptism for their child for this reason. We do not believe, in the United Church if Canada, that God would condemn children to hell because they are not baptized. Baptism is about church membership and choosing to raise your child in the Christian faith. 
                               
    I WANT MY CHILD TO BE ABLE TO BE MARRIED IN THIS CHURCH
Whether your child eventually wishes to marry as a Christian or not will be their own decision when the time comes. We do not require baptismal certificates for marriage.

    I WANT TO SAVE MY CHILD THE EMBARRASSMENT OF BEING BAPTIZED WHEN THEY ARE OLDER OR GROWN.
Adult baptism is not only the original form of Christian Baptism, it is a profoundly significant experience for those who decide on their own to be members of the church. We baptize people of all ages.

    I WANT MY CHILD BAPTIZED JUST BECAUSE IT IS A TRADITION OF OUR FAMILY.
The tradition of Baptism without any commitment to Christ and the Church is a total misunderstanding of Baptism. Perhaps, a Blessing would be a better option for your family.


    MY CHILD'S GRANDPARENTS WOULD BE UPSET IF THEY WERE NOT BAPTIZED. 
In most cases, it is you, their parents, and not their grandparents, who must give them a Christian upbringing if they are baptized. No matter what others think or feel., the decision must be yours. Again, if this is the reason you are seeking Baptism, we would suggest that Blessing would be the better option. 

    I WANT TO GIVE THEM A CHRISTIAN NAME AT THE BAPTISM
In other faith traditions, this is called Christening, and is not a part of our United Church tradition.

 

Application for Baptism or Blessing (pdf)