Home Worship Planning Planning Resources New Service of Baptism for an Infant/Young Child or Those Unable to Speak for Themselves

New Service of Baptism for an Infant/Young Child or Those Unable to Speak for Themselves

This service reframes the structure and vows of the current Baptismal Covenant (United Methodist Hymnal, 33 and 50, and 2004 Book of Discipline, paragraph. 217) in fresh imagery and a more interactive style. It also recognizes that not all people unable to speak for themselves are infants or small children.

Text in regular print may be offered by the pastor. Text in bold print may be said by all or by a smaller group, as indicated.

All standing in body and/or spirit.

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.

So, come to the water --
water poured over and immersing us,
water flowing freely for all who will receive it,
water from the streams of God's saving power and justice,
water that brings hope to all who thirst for righteousness,
water that refreshes life, nurtures growth, and offers new birth.

Here we come to the waters,
to baptize a child/children/person(s),
and in each other's presence
to 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, and especially parents and sponsors:

And so I ask you, 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, 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 addressing the parents and/or other sponsors:
Will you nurture this child/these children/person(s), Name(s), in Christ's holy church?

The parents and sponsors respond with these or similar words:
By teaching and example
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 addressing all the people:
Will you be living witnesses to the gospel, individually and together, wherever you are, and in all that you do?

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

Will you nurture one another in living the faith of the church and include Name(s) in your care?

With God's help we will live the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We will embody faith, hope and love so that Name (and Name[s]) will grow up/learn to trust God and live Love's service in the world.
We will pray for her/him/them on her/his/their journey of discipleship among us.

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 -- United Methodist Hymnal 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!

But sometimes we try.
We try to block the flow,
we redirect the winds of the Spirit,
or we walk so far away from the life-giving Stream
that we do not hear its sound,
and we forget its power.
We parch ourselves.
We are dry and thirsty, O God.
Come, refresh us!

The pastor offers gestures of calling upon the Holy Spirit to come upon the people and the water.

The people are 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!

Baptism with Laying on of Hands
Each person is baptized individually, with the following words:

First Name, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen. Amen.

The pastor, parents, sponsors and others immediately lay hands upon each child individually as the pastor says:

The Holy Spirit work with you,
that being born through water and the Spirit,
you may be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ.

Amen. Amen.

The pastor invites the congregation to welcome the child:

Let us welcome our new sister/brother/sisters and brothers in Christ.

Child of God by water and the Spirit,
we welcome you into God's new creation.
Share with us in Christ's royal priesthood.
With joy and thanksgiving
we welcome you as a member of Christ's church.

Here the pastor takes the newly baptized into the congregation as (a) new sibling/siblings in Christ. Returning them to the parents and/or sponsors, the service continues with reaffirmation of the baptismal covenant.

All who are baptized and have renewed their vows are invited to come to the font to use the water as a sign of refreshing. As each uses the water, another says to her or him:

"Remember that you are baptized, and rejoice!"

The pastor and other spiritual leaders stationed at the rail or elsewhere initiate the laying on of hands with prayer for those who seek it. Then stepping back those who have received the action in turn lay hands on the next persons coming, saying these or similar words:

Name, the Holy Spirit work within you,
that being born of water and the Spirit
you may live as a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ.

Each responds:

During the time of people coming to the font and the laying on of hands, instrumental or simple vocal music that supports the action and can be easily sung by all is recommended.

Taylor Burton-Edwards is Director of Worship Resources with Discipleship Ministries. Daniel Benedict served as Director of Worship Resources from 1993-2005.