Liturgy

A Service of Baptismal Reaffirmation for New Sponsors

by Taylor Burton-Edwards

The services of the baptismal covenant in The United Methodist Church, as in many other churches, invite and recognize the participation of sponsors, sometimes known as "godparents." These people make a particular pledge, along with parents (if applicable), to walk alongside people newly baptized and/or newly confirmed. Sponsors offer themselves as spiritual guides, friends, and mentors to help disciple the people they sponsor in the way of Jesus.

Our existing resources presume that sponsors present for baptism or confirmation will be able to continue to function as sponsors indefinitely. However, the reality is that people move, and relationships between sponsor and sponsee may change, become strained, or otherwise prove unsustainable. Alternately, the family or others may decide they wish to have additional sponsors for their child or themselves.

 

When any of these things occurs, it is appropriate for a new sponsor or sponsors to be named and the new relationships to be recognized and prayed for publicly by the church in the context of a service of baptismal reaffirmation.

The service below adapts the "
Service of Baptismal Reaffirmation" used at the 2008 General Conference for use in such situations.

As with all services of the Baptismal Covenant, it is most appropriate for this service to be followed by the Invitation to the Table, the sharing of the Peace, and the celebration of Holy Communion.

 


 

New sponsors and the persons they will sponsor are invited to stand (or in the case of infants or very small children, be held by a family member) near the font.

The pastor addresses all the people:

Introduction

Sisters and brothers in Christ:
through the sacrament of baptism
God's Spirit initiates us into Christ's holy church,
puts us on the stage of God's saving drama,
and gives us new birth through water and the Spirit.

Though this sacrament, we also respond to Spirit’s call
to be the body of Christ with and for each other,
accompanying the newly baptized
to become and live
as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.

 

Today, we come to these waters,
to celebrate the commitment of
Sponsor Name(s)
as sponsor, mentor and spiritual friend to Member Name(s).

 

Today, Sponsor Name(s) will reaffirm our covenant of baptism
and will make promises to God, to us, and to Member Name.
With Sponsor Name(s),
all of us who are baptized
renew our commitments
to Christ who has raised us,
the Spirit who has birthed us,
and the Creator who is making all things new.

Renunciation of Sin and Profession of Faith
Pastor to all the people, including the new sponsor(s):

And so I ask you all, will you turn away from the powers of sin and death?

We renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness,
reject the evil powers of this world,
and repent of our sin.

Will you let the Spirit use you as prophets to the powers that be?

We accept the freedom and power God gives us
to resist evil, injustice, and oppression
in whatever forms they present themselves.

Will you proclaim the good news and live as disciples of Jesus Christ with his body on earth?

We confess Jesus Christ as our Savior,
put our whole trust in his grace,
and promise to serve him as our Lord,
in union with the church which Christ has opened
to people of all ages, nations, and races!

The pastor addresses the Sponsor(s):


Do you, Sponsor Name(s), promise to nurture Member Name(s),
inviting and guiding (him/her/them) to become (a) faithful disciple(s) of Jesus Christ?

 

Sponsor(s):
By teaching and example
I(we) will guide
her/him/them
to accept God's grace for
herself/himself/themselves,
to profess her/his/their faith openly,
and to lead a Christian life.


The pastor addresses the people:
Will you be living witnesses to the gospel,
individually and together,
wherever you are,
and in all that you do?

 

People:
We will remain faithful members of Christ's holy church
and serve as Christ's representatives in the world.

 

Pastor:
Will you nurture one another in living the faith of the church
and continue to include Sponsor and Member Names
in your care?


People:
With God's help we will live the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We will embody faith, hope and love

so that Baptized Member Name(s)
will learn to trust God
and live Love's service in the world.
We will pray for him/her/them on her/his/their journey of discipleship among us,

and for Sponsor Name(s) as he/she/they guide(s) Member Name(s)
on the way that leads to Life.

 

The pastor addresses the Sponsor(s) and all the people:
Will you receive and profess the Christian faith as contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments?

(Here the response may be the following, or the longer interrogative profession of the
Apostles' Creed –
See The United Methodist Hymnal, pp. 35 and 51.)

We affirm and teach the faith of the whole church
as we put our trust
in God, the Father Almighty,
in Jesus Christ, God's only Son,
and in the Holy Spirit,
one God now and forever.

 

Thanksgiving over the Water

The Spirit of the Lord is with us.
Even so, come Lord Jesus!

Let us pray.

Almighty God, the life you birthed in us
by baptism into Jesus Christ
will never die.
Your justice never fails.
Your mercy is everlasting.

Your healing river flows.
Your Spirit blows where you will.
We cannot stop you, God!

At the words over the people and the water, the pastor offers
gestures of the Spirit coming upon the people and the water.

The people may be invited to offer the same gestures as they respond.

Come upon us, Holy Spirit!
Come upon us, Holy Spirit!

Come upon these waters.
Come upon these waters.

Let these waters be to us drops of your mercy.
Let these waters remind us of your righteousness and justice.

Let these waters renew in us the resurrection power of Jesus.
Let these waters make us long for your coming reign.

Most Holy God, Abba, Father!
Glory to you!

Jesus Christ, Savior, Lord!
Glory to you!

Spirit of fire, Spirit over the waters, Spirit of holiness!
Glory to you!

Eternal God, One in Three and Three in One!
All glory is yours, now and forever. Amen!

Those affirming their role as sponsors today are invited to use the water in the
font as a sign of commitment and renewal.

 

After each uses the water, the congregation says to her or him:
Sponsor Name, may Jesus walk with you as you walk with Member Name.
Remember that you are baptized, and rejoice!

Afterward, if desired, all present who are baptized and have renewed their vows may be invited to the font to use the water as they choose.
As each of these receive the water, the pastor or another may say to each:

"Remember that you are baptized, and rejoice."

Categories: Baptism, Baptism, Baptism Services