Baptism is an outward and visible sign of in inward and spiritual grace, signifying to all the pouring out of the Holy Spirit.
By baptism, we are brought into the Church.
Baptism is the ritual passage into the church, the mark of God’s blessing, and following the example of Jesus. Water is sign and symbol of cleansing, of birth, of newness. In baptism, we are spiritually cleansed; we are born of the Spirit and have new life.
By baptism, we are named as God’s own.
We are marked as God’s people, claimed as God’s own, by the water of baptism. We remember the announcement of the Spirit at Jesus’ baptism: This is my beloved, and we appropriate those words for each one who is baptized. We, too, are declared children of God.
Q. How does Decatur UCC baptize?
A. Normally, we baptize by either pouring or sprinkling. However, if you prefer immersion baptism, we will do our best to make that possible. We do not believe that any single mode of baptism is “right” or superior to another. In fact, the various modes of baptism each offer a distinct beauty and meaning. Baptism by immersion symbolizes sharing in the sign of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.
Q. I’ve been baptized before. Do I need to be baptized again to be part of Decatur UCC?
A. No, you don’t. While baptism is initiation into THE church, it isn’t the initiation into any single congregation. Your baptism was the work of God and has marked you for your whole life. It is the sign of the covenant that God has made with you – with the promise that God will never leave you or forsake you.
Q. Does the church baptize babies and young children?
A. We do. We understand baptism as a sign of what God is and what God has done. That is, God’s love and God’s Spirit have been poured out for all people. Understanding baptism is not a requirement for receiving it. Therefore, we will baptize those who cannot yet know its meaning or those who will never have the capacity to know, at least in a cognitive way, baptism’s meaning. Baptized children are in the spiritual care of the church. At Decatur UCC, we take that seriously and become that “village” in the life of our children.
Q. I don’t remember my baptism. Should I be baptized again?
A. You don’t need to be baptized again. However, each time we observe the Sacrament of Baptism, we are all called to remember and renew our own baptism. From time to time, we offer a ritual of baptism renewal in which the water of baptism is available to all.
Q. I’ve had membership in various churches all my adult life, but I’ve never been baptized. Is it too late?
A. Absolutely not! If you would like to talk about what baptism might mean to you spiritually, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with one of our pastors to have a conversation about it. We baptize more adults than children or babies! This can be a rich, meaningful part of your spiritual journey.