April 8th, 2009

saxon cross

By water and the spirit

It wasn't the coldest water I've ever been in. It wasn't even the coldest baptism I've ever done. But it was plenty cold, especially for Brooke, who requested baptism by immersion.

We secured permission from the Parks Dept. to use the old waterfront at Wapehani Mountain Bike Park -- which used to be Camp Wapehani, BSA -- for this baptism. I went to camp here as a Boy Scout, and was on staff for its last two summers of operation.

In The United Methodist Church, we routinely baptize babies and young children, then confirm them when they get old enough to profess their own faith in Christ. We accept other Christian bodies' baptisms and do not rebaptize those who have been baptized before -- at whatever age and by whatever mode.

That said, lots of people come to us who were either raised without a church home, or are transferring from a church which practices adult baptism only. About half of the youth in my Confirmation classes over the last dozen years or so have required baptism to complete their entry into the Church. Since we teach that all modes of baptism are equally valid (immersion, affusion, aspersion -- a.k.a. dunking, pouring, sprinkling), whenever I baptize older youth and adults, I invite them to choose their mode of baptism.

They don't always get to choose when and where, however; since we don't have a built-in baptistry, immersions require us to make arrangements off-site. Brooke chose immersion; two others whom we will receive Sunday have chosen to be baptized in the sanctuary.

Brooke's baptism Brooke's baptism
April 8, 2009 Weimer Lake