Can I (or my child) be baptized at Culver Presbyterian?
In a word, yes!
We love this question, because we love when people are seeking a more meaningful relationship with God in a community of faith. So what does that mean for us?
Baptism holds special meaning and weight for us, because it is one of two sacraments practiced by Presbyterians; Communion is the other. Baptism means we are fully committing to a life following Jesus in a community of faith: that’s two feet in, fully present, and actively participating.
When you’re baptized, you join the church. We believe the Christian life is meant to be lived with others and acted out in community. We recognize that God claims us, and we respond by a public profession of faith and being part of a faith congregation. If a child is baptized, one or two parents make a profession of faith on the child’s behalf.
Come to worship on Sundays.
That’s the best way to know if baptism is for you.
Leading up to the baptism, the person or parent(s) will meet with the pastor for new member classes. These usually last 2-3 sessions in-person or on zoom. Then the person to be baptized meets with a group of elders who will welcome them and share ways they can be involved in the congregation.
Presbyterians practice both adult and infant baptism. Infant baptism expresses that it is God who chooses us for faith, discipleship, and salvation; without God, we have no power to claim these things for ourselves. We also affirm that people come to faith at different stages in life, and recognize the baptism of older believers as part of their story and expression of the sacrament.
Baptism happens in worship on Sunday mornings. For us, it is a communal act of public worship. The congregation even stands to take vows to support the one being baptized and walk alongside them in their life of faith. Baptism is never a private act with just the family present.
Most often, we pour water on the head, though we could baptize by immersion. Whatever the method, we use a visible and generous amount of water, conveying the lavish outpouring of God’s grace.
What if I’ve already been baptized?
Then, you don’t need to be baptized again. In fact, we don’t re-baptize because we want to affirm God’s action at baptism is still active and present. Someone may not remember being baptized and come to faith later in life. In those instances, we can have a re-affirmation of baptism to show the recommitment of the person as they join the community of faith.
Can anyone be baptized? Yes! Christ’s gracious invitation is open to all. We see it as the beginning of a lifelong process of formation in the faith.
Do non-Presbyterians need to be baptized when joining the congregation? Not if they were previously baptized. The PC(USA) recognizes all baptisms with water in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit administered by other Christian churches.
Presbyterians describe baptism as a sign and seal of the covenant of grace made by God through Jesus and extended to us. In baptism, God claims us as beloved children and members of Christ’s body, the church, washing us clean from sin as we renounce the power of evil and seek the will and way of God.
For more information on what Presbyterians believe about baptism, see this site.