Baptism is one of two Sacraments celebrated in the Church of Scotland, the other being Communion, or ‘The Lord’s Supper’.
The Church of Scotland practises two types of baptism. The most common is Infant Baptism, which is administered to babies or small children, the other is Adult or Believer’s Baptism, which is administered to those who can take vows for themselves and who want to profess their own individual faith in Christ. This is usually done before a person ‘joins’ the church, if they haven’t already been baptised.
Because baptism is a sacrament of the church it is usually reserved to those who are already members of a congregation, or who are adherents expressing an interest in becoming members. The Service of Baptism requires parents, or in certain cases, where neither of the parents are members, a close family member who is a member of the congregation, to take vows professing their own faith, and promising to bring a child up in the ‘love and discipline of the Lord’ and in ‘the ways of the Church of God’.
The baptism will usually take place during a normal Sunday morning service with the congregation present. This is important because the congregation also takes a vow to support the family in this task, and with that there is an expectation that the parents, or other family member, will make a commitment to regular attendance at church, allowing their children and themselves to take full advantage of the opportunities for growth in the Christian faith, which are provided through teaching in church and in Sunday school, and in fellowship.
In order to more fully explore what baptism means for a family and for a child, the minister often runs a short enquirers' class looking at the background to and the implications of baptism as well as what the Christian faith is about.
If you are interested in having your child baptised, or would like to know more, please contact the minister who will be glad to make arrangements to meet with you and discuss the implications.
A note about Godparents
In the Church of Scotland there is no requirement for godparents at a Service of Baptism. Traditionally families do have godparents for their child, and that is fine.
It has been our practice in Clackmannan recently that, if desired, parents can request that godparents affirm their own faith and make a vow to support the family in assuring their child’s growth in Christian faith. Should this be something you would consider please let the minister know and appropriate arrangements can be made.
Service of Dedication and Thanksgiving
Sometimes a family will find the implications of baptism or its requirements difficult to keep. In that case the minister will happily offer a Service of Dedication which, in the main, gives thanks for the arrival of the new-born and simply asks the parents to make a vow to love their child and bring them up to the best of their abilities. Should you wish to take up that option please make that clear to the minister.