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Episcopal Church

Concerning the service of Holy Baptism in the Prayer Book


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The Prayer Book offers some parameters and learnings concerning a service of Holy Baptism, including the following:

Holy Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ's Body the Church. The bond which God establishes in Baptism is indissoluble.

Holy Baptism is appropriately administered within the Eucharist as the chief service on a Sunday or other feast.

Each candidate for Holy Baptism is to be sponsored by one or more baptized persons.

Sponsors of adults and older children present their candidates and thereby signify their endorsement of the candidates and their intention to support them by prayer and example in their Christian life. Sponsors of infants, commonly called godparents, present their candidates, make promises in their own names, and also take vows on behalf of their candidates.

It is fitting that parents be included among the godparents of their own children. Parents and godparents are to be instructed in the meaning of Baptism, in their duties to help the new Christians grow in the knowledge and love of God, and in their responsibilities as members of his Church.

Lay persons may act as readers, and it is appropriate for sponsors to be assigned this function. The petitions (in the prayers) may also be led by one of the sponsors.

At the Thanksgiving over the Water, and at the administration of Baptism, the celebrant (priest or bishop), whenever possible, should face the people across the font, and the sponsors should be so grouped that the people may have a clear view of the action.

After the Baptism, a candle (which may be lighted from the Paschal Candle) may be given to each of the newly baptized or to a godparent.

The oblations of bread and wine at the baptismal Eucharist may be presented by the newly baptized or their godparents.


"Open to God's love, serving our neighbor"