Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 20, 2006
Ministers explain Baptism traditions to ecumenical officers
By BILL GLEN
People must have a personal relationship with Christ and believe in his resurrection. Romans 6 describes this, she said.
"What happens in the person as they come to Christ is they are dead to their old ways and rise into a new life."
Hankinson has been at Garneau United for 27 years.
"Baptism is a symbolic action that signifies the new life God gives us as we join the Church community. It signifies acceptance of new life within the Church family."
The sacrament of Baptism is the single rite of initiation into the Christian community. The United Church of Canada offers Baptism to all ages, although it is usually performed at infancy.
"We believe the gift of God's love does not depend on our ability to understand it. We baptize infants and those in adulthood," he said.
Parents or sponsors are instructed by the Church for a child's Christian nurturing. During the ceremony, the entire congregation pledges support for the child and the parents.
Baptism is not a requirement for God's love, Hankinson said. In the United Church's understanding, those who die without Baptism are not condemned, lost or damned.
"There is no question that when you are baptized, you are a member of the Christian Church. You are not a member of a particular congregation or denomination, but a member of the Church of Christ."
In an interview, Archbishop Thomas Collins, who attended the conference, said that essential to Baptism is the pouring of water in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
There must be an intention of Baptism. Baptism is so important that someone other than clergy can perform it.
The methods might be different than what Catholics are used to seeing, but the reason for Baptism in other faiths is similar. It is about responding to people in the name of Christ.
"Most Christian churches do just what we do and we accept them.
"Baptism for us is the foundation sacrament and the gateway to all the other sacraments. It is an act of God through which we receive the indwelling presence of the Blessed Trinity," he said.
Baptism gives Christians a mission to preach the Gospel, Collins said. It is strengthened and completed by Confirmation and reaches its fulfillment in the Eucharist.
"The sacrament of Reconciliation is an extension of Baptism because one dimension of Baptism is the forgiveness of sins."
Collins said that in ancient times, people waited later in their lives for their sins to be forgiven. But the Church recognized the Lord who said "Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven."
"This dimension of Baptism can be repeated through time," he said.
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