Many members of a congregation are delighted to see a baptism take place in their Church and the parish Church of Cullen and Deskford is no exception.
If you live within the parish then the first thing you should do is contact the minister who will discuss the requirements and fix a date that is suitable for everyone. I should stress that the sacrament of baptism, and even the blessing ceremony of a child, is far more important than the building which is used. However please note that the first Sunday of the month the service is held at the Hall Church, and every other Sunday at the Auld Kirk. Second and fourth Sundays there is a 12 noon service at Deskford. Each of our buildings is more than suitable for baptisms and blessings.
If you live outwith the parish you should seriously consider getting your child baptised or blessed at your own local Church. It is more likely that you would be attending that Church than the Church at Cullen and Deskford. Remember that the promises you make are all about bringing your child up within the local Church community which may well prove difficult if you stay 100 miles from here!
Baptism is one of the two sacraments recognised by the Church of Scotland, the other being the Sacrament of Holy Communion. In the case of infant baptism the Church expects at least one parent or other close family member either to be a member of the Church or willing to become a member. If the parent(s) or sponsor of the child have not been baptised themselves then they would need to undergo adult baptism before they could act as a sponsor. Ideally this would normally be done at a separate service.
In the baptismal service one of the parents or both, or a sponsor would be required to profess their own faith and promise to give the child a Christian upbringing. In the case of adult baptism the person himself or herself makes the appropriate promises.
Baptism is normally administered at Sunday worship in front of the congregation. This emphasises the nature of the sacrament as incorporation into the body of Christ and the life of the Church. There is some flexibility in the case of genuine emergencies, normally in a hospital situation or the health of the parent(s).
Since 2003, the Church has provided orders for the thanksgiving for, and blessing of, a child. The blessing ceremony takes place at morning worship following the same pattern as that for Baptism, except the wording and promises are different, and no water is used. Nothing is required of the parents in either commitment or belief.
(This was put together for older children whose mother had been a member of the local church before leaving the area for marriage and career prospects)
Dear friends: The birth of a child is a joyous and solemn occasion as well as a life changing moment in the lives of parents and grandparents and the rest of the extended family. It is also an occasion for rejoicing in the community – especially the church community.
NAME is part of this extended church family of NAME OF CHURCH – and through her marriage to NAME and the children they now have - all of them are part of this community and it’s a joy and a privilege to thank God for their children. Therefore I ask you to join NAME and NAME in giving thanks to Almighty God, the Lord of all life, for the gift of their children NAMES.
Leader: In the beginning, God made the world, light and dark, shape and void, height and depth, to tell of love.
ALL: And God says it is good.
Leader: In land and sea, in plant and seed, in growth and decay, God’s love is shown.
ALL: And God says it is good.
Leader: In creatures great and small, in movement and stillness, in birth and death, God’s love is shown.
ALL: And God says it is good.
Leader: In woman and man, in joy and sorrow, in laughter and tears, God’s love is shown
ALL: And God says it is good.
Leader: In the gift of new life, in signs of hope, in the children we are given.
ALL: God’s Love is shown.
Leader: So let us celebrate and give thanks for the gift of these children.
ALL: With God we say, ‘It is good.’
Leader: Jesus said: Let the children come to me , do not try to stop them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.
God our Maker we praise you for your creation, and especially for life new and renewed. We rejoice and thank you for the lives of NAMES - given in love to NAME and NAME as their children. We pray that NAME and NAME will in their loving, guiding and nurturing of their children be strengthened and aided by the power and presence of your love in Jesus Christ. Amen.
Vows to the parents:
NAME and NAME will you, with God’s help, strive to share your love, faith and wisdom and understanding with your children and make for them a home where they may learn to live in love, peace and justice? Vows to the congregation:
Will you who form this holy community of love in which these children are part of the extended family of God – will you keep these children and their parents in your hearts and prayers, and give an example of faith, hope and love to them all, with God’s help?
Blessing for the children:
May God’s joy be in your heart and God’s love surround your living, each day and night and wherever you go. May you know God’s presence. In growing and learning, in joy and sorrow, in friendship and solitude, in beginnings and endings – may God keep you and bless you all the days of your life.
The Baptismal Service
Depending on what you wish for your child the service would take place during an act of worship. If you decide that baptism is appropriate for your child you would be expected to make one of the following four vows.
1. PARENTS you have come for the baptism of your child NAME.
In response to the call of Christ and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Let me therefore ask you:
Do you believe and trust in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; maker of heaven and earth, giver of Life and redeemer of the world?
2. Baptism is the sacrament in which a person becomes part of God’s family – the Church. As NAME is too young to make any promises his/her parents will do so on NAME behalf:
PARENTS In presenting NAME for baptism desiring that s/he may be grafted into Christ as a member of his body, the Church, do you receive the teaching of the Christian faith which we confess in the Apostles Creed.
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
3. Do you present NAME to be baptised, earnestly desiring that s/he may be grafted into Christ as a member of his family?
Do you believe in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; and do you confess Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour?
Do you promise, depending upon the grace of God to teach NAME the truths and duties of the Christian faith and by prayer and example to bring NAME up in the life of the Church?
4. As you bring NAME to be baptised do you promise to continue to give honour to God by loving and forgiving one another?
Do you promise, as far as you are able, to teach NAME the truths and duties of the Christian faith; and by prayer and example to bring NAME up in the life and worship of the Church?
This vow is only suitable if both parents are making the promises of baptism.
Godparents are often used at the sacrament of baptism. Primarily they are invited to support not just the child but the parents and there would be an expectation that they too would take the promises of the Church seriously. However Godparents are not essential to this rite and if you do not want/need them then that would be fine.
You do not need to be married to have your child baptised. A relationship based on love, growth and forgiveness is what is required and where we start from.
Although you do not need to be a member of the Church of Scotland we would encourage you to consider exploring membership classes and instruction.
Photographs and videos of the sacrament are not permitted. There will be an opportunity to take some pictures after the service.
Family members/friends/godparents can be included in the service by taking a reading or sharing a poem or some words of wisdom.
Please speak to the minister before you arrange this.
Parents would normally be escorted into the church by their local elder who would visit the family with a church magazine at the next appropriate occasion.