What do United Methodists believe about Baptism?
In the words of our baptismal liturgy,
Baptism is an outward and visible sign of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Through the Sacrament of Baptism we are initiated into Christ’s holy Church. We are incorporated into God’s mighty acts of salvation and given new birth through water and the Spirit. All this is God’s gift, offered to us without price.
As United Methodists, we believe that God is already working in us, providing us boundless love and grace, before we are even able to recognize that God is there.
In baptism, God claims us as part of the divine family, and we are invited to respond to God’s love with our own. We hear God calling us beloved children and feel the Holy Spirit desending upon us, just as Jesus did at his own baptism.
Passing through the waters by the mysterious power of God echoes both the Exodus—when God led the Israelites out of slavery and into the Promised Land—and Jesus’ Resurrection, crossing from death into new life. The grace we receive at our baptism helps us to break free from the cycles of sin and injustice that plague our world so that we can begin to live into the new creation God promises for all of us.
How and when can I be baptized?
The United Methodist Church baptizes people of all ages by a variety of methods. You might choose to be baptized only by having a bit of water sprinkled on your head. You might choose to have a pitcher of water poured over you. Or you might choose to take some of our church family with you to a lake or a nearby church with a large baptismal font so that you can be baptized by immersion. It’s up to you!
Because we believe God is already working in us before we’re even aware of God, infants and children who are not yet fully aware of God can be baptized. If you are interested in having your child baptized, please call the church office or the pastor to schedule a meeting to talk about what baptizing your child means to you and what promises you as a parent or sponsor must make on behalf of your child. They’ll have the chance to take on those promises themselves when they are old enough to be confirmed.
If you weren’t baptized as a baby, you’ll be invited to receive baptism if you decide to become a member of the church. Children who are being confirmed can be baptized as part of the confirmation service, and adults who are joining the church can be baptized on the same day they join. If you are interested in being baptized, please call us to schedule a meeting about what baptism means to you and what you promise during the ritual.
For more information regarding baptism and/or to schedule a planning meeting for yours or your child’s baptism, please call (585–924–2621) or email us at any time!
Can I be baptized again?
The United Methodist Church recognizes baptism as a one-time sacrament of initiation into Christ’s whole church, not just our denomination. If you’ve been baptized in another church, your baptism is most likely already recognized by the UMC. The rule of thumb is: if you were baptized in the name of the Triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), then you’ve been baptized in the eyes of our denomination. If the liturgy used at your baptism was more vague, you might be able to be baptized again.
If you’re interested in being baptized again as a way of marking a new stage of life, a separation from an addiction, or a similar event, there are other liturgies we can use to mark this moment and invite God to help you step into the next phase of your life freely and unburdened.
If you’re interested in being baptized again because you no longer use the name you were baptized under, there are liturgies we can use to celebrate your name change and recognize the ways that God has known you for who you are throughout your life.
If you have questions about multiple baptisms, rituals like these, or anything else related, please feel free to schedule a meeting to talk with the pastor about what you’d like to celebrate and how we can make a holy space to do so.