According to the Methodist Worship Book, baptism (or Christening) marks entry into the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, of which the Methodist Church is part. The Methodist Church, like most denominations of the Christian Church, administers the sacrament to both adults and young children.
Is there an alternative to baptism for our child?
Some parents believe, on reflection, that a service of baptism is not the most appropriate service for them and their child. They may think it is too weighty in terms of their own faith, or that the promises involved go beyond what they can say with integrity. Some parents may be adopting a child who has already been baptised. Some may have a child who was baptised in emergency circumstances in hospital or at home. Other parents, who may themselves be committed Christians, feel strongly (because baptism is so meaningful) that they want their child to be able to ask for baptism, if and when they are ready to respond for themselves. All nevertheless want to thank God publicly now for the safe arrival of their child and express their love for that child. This can be done at a service called an ‘Act of Thanksgiving after the Birth or Adoption of a Child’. If you are not sure whether Baptism or an Act of Thanksgiving would be more appropriate for you and your child, talk it through with a minister, who will be able to advise you. Or see contact details below.
How do we go about getting our child baptised?
Parents wishing to have their children baptised should approach their local Methodist minister (if you are not a Methodist, then contact your local pastor/minister) at the earliest possible moment. He/she will be able to explain what’s involved. This may involve, in some cases, parents being willing to undertake a number of instruction sessions.
Do different denominations have different baptisms?
There is one baptism, which is recognised by all the mainstream Churches that baptise infants, including the Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church and the Church of Ireland.
Can you be baptised as a child and as an adult – for instance if you return to the Church after a break?
Methodists practise both adult (believers) and infant Baptism. If you are an adult and are seeking Baptism for yourself, this will no doubt be something you have been thinking and praying about for some time. Adult (Believers) Baptism is the public declaration of personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not normal for a person who has been Baptised as an infant to be Baptised a second time. Infant Baptism would normally be followed some time later (when the baptised person can answer for themselves), by confirmation and reception into full membership. This service is central to our Methodist Discipline and provides the occasion for publicly declaring personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Christians who have been baptised as infants can use this service as an opportunity to publicly declare their personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and publicly take on the commitment and responsibility of Christian discipleship for themselves and to play a full part in the life of the Church. If you require further clarity please use the contact details below.
This is best summed up in the Methodist Worship Book: “In Confirmation, those who have been baptised declare their faith in Christ and are strengthened by the Holy Spirit for continuing discipleship. Confirmation reminds us that we are baptised and that God continues to be at work in our lives: we respond by affirming that we belong to Christ and to the whole People of God. At a Service of Confirmation, baptised Christians are also received into membership of the Methodist Church and take their place as such in a local congregation.”
For further information
The first point of contact is your local church where the minister can discuss your questions with you. Visit our Find a Church section for Methodist Churches in Ireland.