What is baptism?
Baptism is an outward and visible sign of in inward and spiritual grace. The act of baptism signifies and reminds us all of God’s gift of grace.
In baptism, we are brought into the church.
Baptism is the ritual passage into the church, the mark of God’s blessing, and the following of the example of Jesus. Water is used as sign and symbol of cleansing, of birth, of newness. In baptism, we signify that we called as children of God to new life and to vocation of Christianity. That is, we are called to live after the example of Jesus and live attentive to God, who speaks anew to each generation.
In baptism, we are named as God’s own.
By the water of baptism, we are marked as God’s people and claimed as God’s own. Each time we celebrate a baptism we remember the announcement of the Holy Spirit at Jesus’ baptism: This is my beloved, and we use those words for each one who is baptized. We, too, are beloved children of God.
How does Decorah Congregational UCC baptize?
Most often, we baptize by either pouring or sprinkling, though we believe that no single mode of baptism is “right” or superior to another. We honor that various modes of baptism each offer a distinct beauty and meaning. If another method of baptism, such as immersion, would be meaningful we will strive to facilitate that experience into the life of the individual and the church.
I’ve been baptized before. Do I need to be baptized again to be part of Decorah Congregational UCC?
No, you don’t. We believe that baptism is initiation into the Church not into any single congregation or denomination. Baptism is the work of God and that gift is never ending.
Does the church baptize babies and young children?
We do. Because we believe that baptism is a sign of who God is and what God has done, we understand that God’s love and grace is a gift for all people. Understanding baptism is not a requirement for receiving it, for truly the sacred gift of God’s grace will always remain beyond our full comprehension. Therefore, we offer baptism to those who do not yet know its meaning or those who do not have capacity to know, at least in a cognitive way, baptism’s meaning. Baptism is not only an event in the life of an individual. It is an event in the life of the Church. At the time of baptism, the entire congregation vows to care for the person. We take that seriously and become that “village” in the life of our children as well as adults.
I’ve never been baptized. Is it too late?
It is never too late. If you are wondering what baptism might mean for you in your spiritual journey, don’t hesitate to innate a conversation with the pastor.