Christening and Baptism -
FOLLOWING THIS INTRODUCTION, are complete
Heaven itself comes down and surrounds a child at a Baptism, surrounding all with God's Love.
Christenings and Baptisms are on Sunday (the Lord's Day) and Monday through Thursday. Few other ceremonies are as spiritually significant and reverent. Christenings and Baptisms are conducted at homes, apartments, backyards, parks, and other locations of your choice.
In the event of an infirmed infant, child, adult or senior at risk of death, baptisms also are conducted at hospitals and retirement homes - for persons who were or were not baptized as an infant as a declaration of faith and assurance of heaven as a positive act and declaration by the person facing the prospect of death. These can be highly reassuring and comforting ceremonies for both the person and their loved ones. Special Baptismal services for child and adults in the shadow of death are one another page - to go to that section (Baptisms for child and adults in the shadow of death)
Below, you will find text for Christian Christening/Baptism - both classic traditional and conventional nondenominational. There are text variations also for infant, adult and infirmed Christening and Baptism. These are distinctly Christian services.
"Baptism" or "Christening"?
"Baptism" finds it's origins in the story of John the Baptist, although Baptism is not unique to Christianity.
Baptism is the spiritual analogy to birth itself. Just as person in born into the world from protection within the water of the womb, a person is reborn spiritually of water in Baptism. To be baptized is to be spiritually reborn. The phrases often used in religion doctrine in the past is "drown to the world and reborn to Christ".
The term "Christening" dates to the early Christian and Catholic churches, as they considered and debated whether an infant's faith can be forever controlled and directed by others (Parents). It was believed that parents can "dedicate" a child to "Christendom" - the Christian faith and worldly Christian Church, but the infant as an adult is a unique soul of the person's own faith and decisions independent of their parents and others - that faith is a strictly personal decision. Hence was born the term: 'Christening".
A Christening is a Baptism - and more - as it is a dedication of a person to God. Christening refers to dedicating a person (child or adult) to the Christian faith (dedicated to "Christendom") in the service of God. Most Christian churches use the terms Baptism and Christening as having the same meaning and there is no difference in ceremony for either.
Christening, however, is not limited to a ceremony for people. For example, ships and churches were also "Christened".
The origins of christening ships is distinctly Christian in origins from a time when all western cultures were dominated, if not governmentally ruled, by the Christian church.
Most people have seen the phrase "H.M.S. _______" for the name of all British ships. This stands for in "His/Her Majesty's Service" - the ship "dedicated" to the service of the king or queen. In Christianity, the initials of "I.H.S." are often found, meaning "In His (God) Service".
Thus, originally, when ships were "christened" on launching, the ship was being dedicated to the service of God (Christian) as all actions of man and government should ultimately be done for the service of God. Now, few people give an religious significance to the christening of a ship or yacht.
The breaking of a bottle on a ship's bow traces back to early Christianity and even earlier Judaism - from a ceremony from Jewish weddings called "The breaking of the bottle". At the end of a marriage, the groom would smash a bottle under his foot. This was to represent the finality of marriage as the bottle could not be put back together, and to caution the couple to be careful with their marriage.
Few churches now christen new church buildings. Rather, they will have a laying of the cornerstone ceremony (from the Bible of Peter as the rock of the church) and later a "dedication ceremony" when the building is completed - dedicating the building to the service of God.
The issues of the meaning and significance of Baptisms and Christening continues within the Christian community to this day. Some believe it is fully correct to "Christen" an infant - the parents dedicating what is most precious to them, their child, to God (drawing for the story of ---------- willing to give his son to God as demanded) and to appoint "Godparents" as spiritual supporters and counselors for the infant. But, it also then would be appropriate as a teenager or adult for this person to make a self declaration (dedication) in a rebaptism of their own decision.
A Baptism and Christening is a highly inspiration and wonderous event of great and permanent spiritual importance, for which in addition to "Baptism", there is dedication of the infant/adult to the service of God, the "Christening" of the child/person's name, commitments of spiritual and emotion support by the parents and Godparents, formal blessing for the child/adult and (in some ceremonies) anointing of the child/person.
Anointing with Oil -
The anointing with oil in Christenings and Baptisms dates back to the early Christian Church and is still included in most Catholic ceremonies and many other Christian denominations.
Anointing with oil is found throughout the Old and New Testament. At Jesus birth, the Wise men brought 3 gifts - gold, incense and anointing oil. Jesus was both baptized and anointed with oil in the Bible.
In ancient times, fine oils were a symbol of wealth and also could be used in commerce the same as money. Only the wealthy could afford the finest of oils - pressed from various plants - used for many purposes: 1.) burned for light and producing a sweet, clean flame, 2.( as a perfume, 3.) to moisten their skin in the harsh sun, and 4.) for cooking.
The poor only had animal fats for such purposes and the impoverished had neither. Thus, to be "anointed" was a statement of prosperity.
In spiritual terms, anointing with oil is a declaration of spiritual wealth. With baptism/Christening, the person becoming a citizen of the Kingdom of God and Christendom in Baptism, that person now is wealthier than any worldly king - even if the person's life is of poverty and difficulty - as the person is assured of eternal life in heaven with a life in Paradise. The anointing with oil is after the baptism/christening in the ceremony for this reason. Most, but not all, parents also have anointing with oil in the Christening ceremony, but it is not required.
"Godparents" and "sponsors" mean the same, however sponsors do not necessarily have to be practicing Christians..
Limitations on Text service changes-
You may make changes in the ceremony, but they must not contradict the basic Christian faith.
For example, unfortunately some New Age religions have "Baptism denouncement" ceremonies, claiming this eliminates a Baptism. This seems both unfortunate and foolish. If a person does not believe in Christianity, they would see no reason to undo a ceremony they believe is meaningless.
A Christening/Baptism is a very sincere and reverent ceremony. While you may make language changes, the changes my not contradict Christianity or be trite or silly. Caution should be taken to not replace the true spiritual and Christian aspects of the service to replace it with words that, while possibly beautiful and inspiring, shift away from the Christian spirituality of the service.
ONE PARENT or legal guardian must authorize an infant baptism or Christening. This is to avoid another person attempting to have an infant or child baptized or Christened against their parent's wishes. This applies only to infants and children.
Godparents are NOT required for a Baptism or Chistening, nor is the presence of both parents of a child baptism or Christening.
The minister will wear a white and black traditional robe, unless specifically requested to wear a conventional suit. If the parent(s) are of Catholic, Church of England, Episcopal, Lutheran, or Methodist, a clerical color is worn under the robe. For other denominations and non-denominational Christians, a convention shirt and tie is worn under the robe.
ABOUT THE CHRISTENING/BAPTISM TEXTS BELOW -
Whether a marriage ceremony or Christening, a person should always request to see the text of their ceremony as it is a false assumption that all ministers are the same or will conduct an acceptable ceremony. Many ministers defining themselves as "non-denominational" are New Age metaphysical ministers who do not officiate Christian ceremonies - even if the name of Jesus in mentioned. Some Christian ministers are so deeply into finalize doctrinal disputes, that their service may be bitter or angry in nature. For a Christening/Baptism you should take care to review any service not being conducted by an unfamiliar minister (such as not using the minister of your home church if you have one.)
There are occasions in which for one reason or another, the minister/priest of a church can not conduct a service, but will allow another minister to do so. I have officiated services in both Catholic and almost all Christian denomination churches. I welcome your presenting the text below to a minister or priest you have confidence in for review and am confident it will meet approval as it is careful to preserve the fundamental tenants of Christian Christening and Baptism, without engaging in doctrinal issues between denominations for matters otherwise unrelated. Substantial research has been put into the text versions below.
This is not a homework assignment. Most parents do not spend a great deal of time (or any at all) in selecting or modifying the text. An appropriate text will be conducted suited to your faith. The reason the text is present is for assurance that the Christening/Baptism truly is a "Christian" ceremony of both spiritual and inspirational value.
There are many "ministers" now conducting Christenings and Baptisms that actually are agnostic ceremonies of New Age philosophy, rather than true Christian ceremonies. The Text and all the variations below are deeply rooted in Christian and Christendom history, tradition and belief.
The Text has two sets of variations. One is a classic, traditional ceremony and the other is for conventional, non-denominational Christians.
The TRADITIONAL TEXT is consistent with the Christening and Baptismal ceremonies of the Catholic Church and traditional Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist, Episcopal, and other traditional Christian denominations. This text stems of when ministers and priests were truly seen and acted as spiritual leaders - making profound and exact declarations of faith on a spiritual level.
The CONVENTIONAL TEXT is consistent with modern, conventional language used in non-denominational Christian Churches and fellowships, and in denominations that have adopted "modern" language. The distinction is that conventional texts minimize reference to deeply spiritual matters of a metaphysical nature of negative natures (avoiding words such as "sin", Satan" and so forth.)
Both are correct within Christian doctrine.
A COMMENT ON BAPTISTS in relation to Baptisms and Christening -
A fundamental doctrine of the Baptist Church is that Baptisms only are for persons at least age 13 (the age of "recognition") and only by full immersion under water.
To reconcile differences and avoid doctrinal dispute when there are Baptist family members, the word "Christening", rather than "Baptism", is used throughout the service.
It is increasingly common within the Christian community for a person who is baptized/Christened as an infant/child, to as an adult be rebaptized/Christened as their personal affirmation of faith. Baptist doctrine does not oppose a parent(s) dedicating (Christening) an infant to Christianity as a "Christening", but does not accept this as a "Baptism".
If your circumstance is that in which you wish to show respect for a Baptist family member (or even one of the parents), advise of this and the term "Christening" only will be used.
May the Christening/Baptism service for your child or
loved one be a day of joy and spiritual assurance. "Of such is the Kingdom
Christening - Baptism Ceremony Text
Dearly beloved, we are honored with the privilege of being present here today to witness and support in faith the christening of _________________________(full name); the son/daughter of ________________ and ________________ (parents full names) born into this world on _____________ (birth date).
You have been invited here as family and friends as your prayers and spiritual support in the life of this child (if child)/ this believer (if adult). It has been said that in a Christening/Baptism, Heaven comes down and surround the child/person with God's love for which the effect is lifelong. We join our thoughts and sincere goodwill, asking that Christ's peace might embrace this family and an arc of God's light surround this child/believer for all of his/her days.
Throughout our lives, we are called
upon to make make serious decisions. The decision of dedication you make today
is one of the most sacred and significant you may declare. By it you confess
your faith and formally dedicate yourself to our heavenly Creator, pronounce
your faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, call upon the ministry of
the Holy Spirit, and profess fellowship in the circle believers of Christendom.
Let us begin in Prayer:
(If an infant or young child)
(If an adult)
"If anyone would come after me, let that person disregard themselves, take up their responsibility daily, and follow me. For whosoever world save his life selfishly shall lose it, but whosoever loses their life for My sake shall save it."
Jesus further said:
Let the little children come unto me and forbid them not; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ instructs us that all should come to faith with the eyes and heart of a child. Today, we dedicate _________________ to Our God in this Christening/Baptism.
In Jesus Christ, we are set free of the punishment of sin and oppression of law. By grace in faith we are forgiven and assured eternal life.
Jesus gave unto us two great commandments, which we should strive in heart and mind to obey. Both are of Love. Love God with all our hearts. Love others as we would have others love us. These two things our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ commands of us.
At this point, comes the "charge". IF the person
being Christened/Baptized is an older teenager or adult, the charge and declaration
of faith is ONLY presented to this person, not the parents or sponsors.
If the christening/baptism is for an infant or young child, the charge and declaration of faith is presented to the parent(s) and Godparents/Sponsors.
Charge to person being Christened/Baptized if an
older child or adult:
Charge to Parents & Grandparents for infant and
young child or parent(s) if no Godparents
(There are two versions - the traditional and convention. In the traditional charge to Godparents, profound and absolute declarations of faith were called upon - as the role of spiritual counselors to the child/adult of Godparents was treated very seriously and, therefore, it necessary they be true believers.
The modern conventional language focuses upon positives and uses softer language. Both are acceptable in Christian doctrine.)
Caution should be taken
in relation to Godparents and both parents as to declarations of Christian
faith - to insure this is the person's faith and the declaration acceptable.
A Christening/Baptism is a truly reverence and sincere religious service.
On occasion, a family member or friend will be asked to be a Godparent to a child at a baptism/Christening, without exploring if this person does profess Christian faith.
As the Charge to Parents and Godparents, particularly if the Traditional charge is used - as it is contains very powerful and absolute declarations of the specifics of Christian faith - a particularly awkward surprise to a non Christian Godparent or sponsor.
A "Godparent" by definition MUST be a Christian by faith and profession.
A "Sponsor" does not have to be a Christian. In the circumstance of a non Christian sponsor, the charge and commitment is quite different than for a Christian. The language for a non Christian Sponsor of a child is found below.
Traditional Charge to Parents:
Conventional Charge to Parents:
_________________ and ________________
(parent's first names), will you teach ___________
the truth that from childhood/this moment he/she may realize his unity with God and of Christian doctrine, the gospel ministry and of the salvation by grace through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Will you try to conduct your own life so that by both word and example, __________ may learn to live joyously and harmoniously with Christian principle and the assurance of salvation - will you strive to do this to the best of your ability?
Traditional Charge to Godparents:
Conventional Charge to Godparents:
_____________________ and _______________(Godparents/Sponsor's first names), as Godparents/Sponsors to ________________, God will give you the wisdom and ability to hold within your heart forever the spiritual welfare of this child/believer. You are charged with the responsibility of seeing to the spiritual welfare of this child/believer should the need arise and it is you who stands as spiritual counselors.
Do you accept this duty and charge?
Do you promise to love, honor, support and encourage the child/believer throughout his/her life?
Charge to Non Christian Sponsors
Christening of Name if a child:
What name have you chosen for this child?
(Both parents answer with the full name of the child)
So be it. We christen thee/you
_________________________ (child's full name) in the name of the Father,
the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen. I christen you that you may know the pure
and holy spirit of God, your eternal source of faith. May you come to know
God within your heart all the days of your life and express your highest
potential in Christian service.
(If not already, the Godmother or Godfather should hold the child if a child baptism. The minister shall pour the water upon the forehead of the child/believer, and say -)
I baptize you/thee in the name of the Father;
In the name of the Son;
and in the name of the Holy Spirit;
(Each Parent present, and then each Godparent/Sponsor, shall each in turn make the sign of the cross upon the forehead of the child/believer, and repeat after the priest/minister:
In the name of the Father;
of the Son;
and the Holy Spirit;
WHISPERED VERSE OF ASSURANCE
(optional and not required)
(In every person's life, there are times of lonely trial and hardship. Yet no person of Christendom is every truly alone - for God, the Love of Jesus, the wisdom of the Holy Spirit and the angels are are always with you. The minister/priest selects this verse uniquely for this child/person in prayerful consideration before the ceremony. The selection will be a single verse, easy to memorize and take to heart.
The whispered verse also gives sole recognition that it is the infant/person being christened/baptized for whom this verse and great truth is told.
The "Whispered verse" is a long standing practice of the minister/priest whispering a verse of assurance only to the person - infant or adult -as the Bible verse to turn to in the most difficult of lonely times of hardship. For infants, this verse is written into the Baptismal/Christening Bible - and the Godparents or parent(s) should strive to assure the child will know this verse by heart later in life.
The parent(s) or Godparent may select this verse, but if so great care should be taken that this be a well chosen verse of assurance - not a verse of faith. For example, John 3:16 would not be a wise choice generally.
Let us pray.
Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secret is kept, we place ourselves under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Grant us and this child/believer now dedicated to you, our Lord God and Heavenly Father, a clear understanding of the duties and obligations we now assume.
We pray for the care and protection of this child/believer in body and soul. We surrender him/her to your hands. Please, Dear Heavenly Father, bind your angels to bless and attend him/her always (optional and may be removed). May his/her heart grow strong, may he/her love patiently, and may he/she do what is good and holy in your eyes. This we pray in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
(The minister/priest places his right hand upon the child/person and says:)
__________, as a child of the covenant, receive this blessing. In Baptism you are seal by the Holy Spirit and marked as Christ's own forever and ever. Amen.
ANOINTING WITH OIL (optional and not required)
Throughout the Bible, Old and New Testament, anointing with oil was an act in recognition of wealth, prominence, inheritance and position. Yet in the anointing of Christ before his death on the cross, we were shown the true measure of possession, inheritance and wealth is not found by worldly measures.
In Christian history, anointing a (child/adult) with oil would follow the Baptism/Christening, as a statement that whether ___________'s future in this lifetime is of power and wealth, or is a life of want and hardship, having now entered into the Kingdom of God, __________ is wealthier than any worldly King or Queen, as _____________ is assured of a final future inheritance and place in the Paradise of Heaven, where all is joy, there is no want and there is perfect peace and harmony.
__________________, having now been dedicated into the Kingdom of God, I anoint thee with all the wealth you now possess as one of the Kingdom of God - the power and majesty of our Lord God; the unlimited and sacrificial love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and the spiritual wisdom and assurance of the Holy Spirit; and of your great inheritance - life everlasting in the paradise of heaven - of perfect peace, harmony and joy. No man or woman could be possess more than this.
CANDLE CEREMONY (optional
and not required)
(There is a candle/taper for each parent and Godparent/sponsor, and a center candle for the child/believer being baptized. There is a small, lit candle for the lighting of the candles. The minister/priest shall say:)
In Christian worship tradition, the lighting of candles has many spiritual meanings. The light of candle represents the light of a person's life. The flame represents the eternal truth of God. The light shining forth represents God's truth shining forth upon the world. For believers to collective light a candle, represents the sharing and fellowship of faith; and traditional represented the unity of the individual believers with Christ and the body of believers of Christendom, both in this world and in heaven.
I ask each Godparent and each parent to take one of the candles and light this candle. Now, together, light the center candle for ____________, as the light of his/her life.
I ask that at the conclusion of this service, each of you keep your candle for this reason:
Should there be a time in the future
of _______________for which he/she faces difficult times of trial, be called
upon to make grave decisions - of hardship or joy, or become lost in spirit
- you should, as the duty and obligation you have assumed today - find a
quiet place alone to yourself. Knelling in reverence to to our Lord
God, in the private place, light this candle and and through pray ask for
the safekeeping of ___________ in both body and soul from our Heaven Father,
the revelation of grace and salvation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
and the spiritual guidance of the Holy Spirit.
ASSIGNMENT OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS
(In traditional Christian worship, ministers and priests would "charge" the person or people the subject of the ceremony with various duties, goals and honors. The charge to an adult will be substantially different that the charge to a child. In more modern ceremonies, particularly for infants, instead the minister will often state various spiritual gifts and abilities that come with becoming a member of the Christian faith. Both are acceptable within Christian doctrine.
(Conventional Request for Spiritual Gifts. This is not found in Traditional services.)
ALTERNATIVE CLOSINGS OF SERVICE
(All begin with:)
Hear the words of Our Lord, Jesus Christ:
"All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of time. (Matt. 28 18-20
SUITABLE CLOSING FOR AN INFANT/CHILD or ADULT CHRISTENING
________________, from this day onward, no matter how
dark the world may seem nor how alone and lost you may feel, you shall never
be alone again, never without hope or assurance of final victory.
You are a citizen of the Kingdom of God and body of believers of Christendom, in this world and in heaven. Our true Lord God shall always be with you; the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ shall always be your salvation through grace in faith, the Holy Spirit shall always minister to your heart and mind; and the multitude of God's angels encompass you (optional, not required).
The light of God's Truth surrounds you, the love of God encompasses you, the power of God protects you, the presence of God watches over you and wherever you are God is always with you. So it is and so it shall always be. Amen.
__________________, we bless you and you fill us with joy. God loves you and so do we.
(The minister/priest makes the sign of the cross and says:)
May the Lord will Bless you and Keep you;
make his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you;
Lift his Countenance unto you and give you peace.
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy God, Amen..
(Thus ends the service)
Classic Charge closing with benediction
(to adult believer):
(In the ancient Christianity, ministers and priests were considered to have great authority from God to assign duties, blessings and abilities - which the ministers and priests did exercise - of spiritual matters of both service to God and Christendom. From Joan of Arc to King Richard, Martin Luther to St. Augustine, and from the days when the Christendom stretched from North African through the whole of the Middle East, the Roman Empire and onward to Germania, non-appologitic Christian faith defined values, spirituality and purpose.
This is an ancient "Charge" that I find uncompromising in faith and at the core of original Christian Faith and Service, though many may find it overwhelming:
________________, from this day forward,
you are a dedicated member of the body of the church and of the Kingdom of
God. The power and majesty of our Lord God the Father, the love and sacrifice
of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the wisdom and guidance in faith of the Holy
Spirit shall always be with you. In life to come, you shall inherit your
place in Paradise in Heaven.
Even this much, God loves you.
As a called and ordaining minister of the Gospel, now I give you the following most solemn charge and obligations to guide and direct you throughout all your life. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, ___________ you are charged to:
Keep the Faith;
Defend the Church; ("Church means "Christendom" as the body of believers, not a denomination or
Do what is Just;
Show Mercy to All living things;
Love God with all your heart, body, mind and soul;
Love others as you would have them love you;
be assured that you are saved even unto everlasting life in Paradise
through the sacrifice and grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ;
and so, if you strive to hold within your heart these
the Lord will Bless you
and Keep you;
make his face shine upon you
and be gracious unto you;
Lift his Countenance unto you
and give you peace.
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy God, forever and ever; Amen and amen.
(Thus ends the Christening/Baptism)