Preface: This policy is presented in accord with the teachings, Canons, and Book of Common Prayer (BCP) of the Episcopal Church. Definition: "Holy Baptism is full initiation by water and The Holy Spirit into Christ’s body the Church." (BCPp. 298)
For an adolescent young person or adult – his/her express desire to become a member of the faith community.
For a pre-adolescent child – his/her own express desire along with the consent of the parent(s) or guardian(s) to become a member of the faith community.
For an infant – the expressed desire of the parent(s) or guardian(s) for their child to become a member of the faith community and a reasonable manifestation of their lively participation in that faith community. If the candidate attends a church other than the Cathedral, we ask that the minister of that congregation send a letter to the Dean asking that we perform the Baptism on their behalf.
Sponsors or Godparents: While traditionally three godparents or sponsors are selected (two of whom are male for a male candidate, two female for a female candidate) any number may be chosen. Since these persons are responsible for seeing that the candidate is nurtured in the Christian faith and life, they should be carefully chosen with that in mind. It is encouraged that at least one sponsor be chosen from the local congregation.
Preparation: Prior to the Baptism, usually the Saturday before, parents and godparents/sponsors are asked to meet with the clergy for a pre-baptism conference. The conference will address the meaning of baptism, its history and symbols, the role of parents and godparents/sponsors in their baptismal covenant, and a rehearsal of the baptismal service.
Date, Place and Time: Baptism is appropriately administered within the Eucharist at the principal Sunday service (BCP p. 298). Baptism is especially appropriate at the Easter Vigil, Day of Pentecost, All Saints' Sunday, and the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord, or when the bishop is present (BCP p. 308). Exceptions can be made for extenuating circumstances. Private or home baptism is allowed only in the most extreme situations.
Baptism and Communion: Since "Baptism is full initiation…into Christ’s body the Church," every baptized person, regardless of age, is welcome to receive Holy Communion. Baptized infants and pre-adolescent children, while not required, are encouraged to receive.
Information: When desiring Holy Baptism, please contact the church at least one month in advance with the following information for the baptismal register and certificate:
- Age of candidate.
- Full names of candidate, parents, godparents/sponsors.
- Candidate’s place, date, and time (if known) of birth.
- Candidate’s address and telephone number.
- Name of the parent or godparent/sponsor willing to read the lessons or prayers.
- Desired Baptismal Sunday.