The Sacrament of Baptism

Ale & Teviot United Church adheres to the Church of Scotland practice of infant baptism and does so on the basis of God’s unconditional grace. We can find no scriptural warrant for insisting that baptism of children be restricted to situations where one or both parents have “signed up” for church membership!

It was the Lord Jesus Himself who called for the children to come to him … and not to be prevented by “religious” thinking! That said, Biblical references to ‘family’ Baptisms mention adult belief in the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, as Saviour (eg. Acts 16:30-34).

If you are a parent, you will want nothing but the best for your children. What better gift can you make to your child than to receive the free outpouring of the love of Jesus by baptism, and what better response can you make, in gratitude to Jesus, than by making a life-changing commitment to bring up your family in the fellowship of the church, learning together from his Word of life and power?

Baptism will take place during Sunday morning worship. After the first hymn, it will be explained to the congregation what the sacrament of baptism is all about, then you will be invited to come forward to the font with your child. The god-parents are more than welcome to accompany you, but they have no formal part to play in the act of baptism itself as, according to the practice of the Church of Scotland, baptismal promises are taken only by the parents.

The minister will speak the wonderful promises of God over your child, take him/her in their arms, baptise him/her with water and return him/her to you.

Next, you will be invited to respond to God’s free grace as you are asked these three questions, all inviting the response : We do

Do you present [your child’s name] to be baptised and welcomed as a member of the church of Jesus Christ, and do you honestly desire that in due time [s]he may commit his/her life to his Lord?

Do you believe in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit ; and do you in your own life truly acknowledge Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord?

Do you promise, with God’s help, to be good, wise and loving parents to [your child’s name], always seeking the best for him/her and, in due time, will you encourage him/her by your prayer and example to explore the wonderful things of God?

You will then be invited to stand facing the congregation as the Blessing is sung to your child. After this you can return to your seats, breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy the rest of the service!


One or two questions regarding baptism :

Q : What happens if our children get restless during the service?

A : For younger children, it’s perfectly all right to take them through the side door to the vestry or even, if the weather is kind, outside. In Ancrum Church, there are is an area to the side of the front of the church with resources to keep children interested and, hopefully, quiet.

Q : Can we have a private baptism at home?

A : A vital component of baptism is the welcome of your child into the fellowship of the whole church. This would be missing in a “private” ceremony, so it would not be permitted unless there are truly exceptional medical circumstances.

Q : What about baptism of adults?
A : If an adult [or even older child] has not been baptised as an infant, then of course baptism can be carried out in later years. The appropriate time to do this would be when you join the church by profession of faith.
Q : Are there any restrictions on baptism of children of unmarried parents?
A : The perfect love of Jesus for the child is not affected by any issues affecting the parents! We believe that marriage is infinitely preferable to any other “informal” arrangement [!!] and we would certainly encourage this, and perhaps  discuss the way ahead when we chat about the baptism – but it would certainly NOT be a pre-condition. The love of God in Christ is always unconditional!
Q : Is there a problem where one parent is an “unbeliever”?
A : It is perfectly acceptable for only one parent to make the promises, but it would be disappointing if the other parent did not have the love or consideration for his/her partner and child at least to stand beside them for the baptism.