Holy Baptism is a sacred action of God’s initiative and our faith response – an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. Outwardly it is a public declaration of belonging to Christ. Inwardly it symbolizes a new and transformed life in Him (II Corinthians 5:17). For a small child, Baptism precedes an ability to discern this reality. For an adult, Baptism follows it. In either case, Baptism
is the sign of belonging to God’s Covenant
The word “Baptism” literally means “to wash.” Baptism has always been seen as a normative accompaniment to personal conversion in Christ. Although emergency may prevent baptism (as in the case of the thief on the cross), it nevertheless is a required act of obedience to Christ for each believer.
Baptism symbolizes “New Birth” and marks the beginning of a new life in Christ. From this time on, a baptized Christian is to grow into the “family image” of Christ, by the power of God’s spirit, imitating His life and doing those things which exemplify Him. That is the meaning of the promises and vows which every parent, godparent, and adult candidate makes in the baptism service itself.
At St. Stephen’s we offer baptism by immersion or “sprinkling” and we baptize people of all ages. We ask that for infant baptism the parents be active members here at St. Stephen’s. Baptism preparation is required and can be arranged by calling our pastoral care office.