This information which will help you plan a baptism at Bethel Lutheran Church. Please feel free to call one of the pastors at 507-288-6430 if you have any questions or concerns. We are eager to be of help as you plan for this important event.
Why should I have my baby baptized?
When we baptize, we fulfill Jesus’ command, “Go therefore… baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” In response to this command, we baptize.
As Christians, we believe that there are two beginnings in life. The first beginning is the miracle of birth. Life is a gift from God and though we claim to understand its process, it is nevertheless, a great miracle.
The second beginning is Holy Baptism. Listen to this opening address in the service of Holy Baptism:
“In Holy Baptism our gracious God liberates us from sin and death by joining us to the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are born children of a fallen humanity. In the waters of Baptism we are reborn children of God and are given eternal life. By water and the Holy Spirit we are made members of the Body of Christ. As we live with our Lord and with his people, we grow in faith, love, and obedience to the will of God.” (LBW, page 121)
In birth, we join a fallen and needy human family. In baptism we are brought by God into His family, there to be loved, cared for and nourished by God. Through Water and the Word of God (coupled together in Baptism), God makes our new life a reality.
What are my responsibilities as a parent?
Baptism is the beginning of a lifelong experience of God’s loving care for his people. Baptism has a follow through to it called “nurture”. Living with God and his people, “we grow in faith, love and obedience to the will of God.”
As parents, you are cautioned that your responsibility does not stop when your child is baptized. On the contrary, God has great plans for parents! You are thereafter partners with God in an educational and guardianship enterprise. Your child belongs to Christ and you are to watch over your son or daughter on God’s behalf.
Your responsibilities are clarified in the service:
“In Christian love you have presented this child for Holy Baptism. You should therefore, faithfully bring him/her to the services of God’s house, and teach him/her the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments. As he/she grows in years, you should place in his/her hands the Holy Scriptures, and provide for his/her instruction in the Christian faith, that, living in the Covenant of his/her Baptism, and in communion with the Church, he/she may be brought up to lead a Godly life until the day of Jesus Christ. (LBW, 124)
It is a staggering responsibility. But God does not ask us to do anything beyond our ability or without his help. You parents are remembered in our prayers:
“O God, the giver of all life, look with favor upon the fathers and mothers of these children. Let them ever rejoice in the gift you have given them. Make them teachers and examples of righteousness for their children. Strengthen them in their own baptism so that they may share eternally with their children the salvation you have given them through Jesus Christ our Lord” (LBW, page 124)
As a congregation we are prepared to be there to support you as parents and your child as they grow in faith.
When do I begin preparing for my child’s baptism?
You can begin preparing as early as the pregnancy by attending a “baptismal orientation” meeting. Together with other parents you will learn about the Sacrament of Baptism, the selection of sponsors, procedures for baptisms at Bethel, ask questions, and have a chance to make some new friends.
Baptismal orientations are scheduled at 6:30 pm on the second Sunday of each month. You need to register if you plan on attending by calling the church office, 288-6430. You are welcome to join our group any month. One of the pastors will answer any questions you might have or address any concerns.
How do I schedule a baptism?
Call the church office (288-6430) and they will ask you the information as printed on the baptism information form and help you set a date and time for the baptism. They will also try to answer any questions you might have.
Click here to download the baptism information form.
Baptisms can be scheduled at one of the following worship services on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month (also on the 5th Sunday if there is one):
9:00 or 10:30 am or any Saturday evening worship service at 6:00 pm.
Baptisms can be scheduled on any Saturday night worship (6:00 pm); on the 2nd, 4th and 5th Sundays (if there is a 5th Sunday), baptisms can be scheduled for 9:00am or 10:30am; on the 1st and 3rd Sundays (Communion), baptisms can only be scheduled for the 10:30 am worship.
Who should we choose as sponsors?
There was a time when sponsors were chosen with the understanding that they would care for the child in the event the parents would die. This is no longer the case.
The major responsibility of a sponsor today is to assist the parents in providing a model of faith and a Christian community as an aid to the child’s growth and development. Sponsors should be chosen with care and thoughtfulness. They need not be Lutherans, but they should be members of a Christian church, hopefully active and committed members with the spiritual welfare of your child at heart.
There is not rule about how many sponsors you should choose but commonly there are 2-4. If they are unable to attend the baptismal service, they may still be sponsors by proxy. You will receive a certificate which can be mailed to the sponsors.
What is the procedure on the day of baptism?
Seating will be reserved for you, your family and friends in the front of the church. During the singing of the hymn of the day, parents and sponsors will be invited by an usher to come and stand around the baptismal font facing the congregation.
The pastor will ask you to bring forward copies of the “Lutheran Book of Worship” and turn to page 227 for the baptismal service to follow during the baptism. Parents and sponsors will be asked to present the child for baptism with the words, “We present __________ to receive the Sacrament of Holy Baptism.”
You will receive a white towel with a baptismal symbol embroidered on it as a gift.
A representative of the congregation or one of the pastors will present you with a baptismal candle on behalf of the congregation. The candle becomes the symbol of hope for the Christian and is to be used at each anniversary of the baptism.
A blue banner with a large white shell on it stands in the sanctuary. There is a white drop on it representing every child baptized since January. You will be given a white drop to put on the banner while your child is being introduced to the congregation by the pastor.
Follow-Up after the Baptism
On the second Sunday of January you will be invited to join in a Celebration of Baptism on Lord’s Sunday which celebrates the baptisms from the previous year.
We encourage you to use the candle you were given at the time of their baptism and a short service called “The Anniversary of Baptism” to remember the baptismal day each year.
Bethel Lutheran Church is prepared to offer a comprehensive program of Christian education as your child grows older. This will include several years of confirmation instruction leading to the day of Confirmation, now called Affirmation of Baptism.
We want to support you as parents by providing opportunities for you to grow in your parenting skills and your own relationship with God. Classes are available for you to attend and other opportunities are provided.