St. Columba's Episcopal Church

Baptisms at St. C’s

Young boy is baptised by the Rev. Martin Smith with his family gathered around.

Holy Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body the Church. The bond which God establishes in Baptism is indissoluble. (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 298)

Holy Baptism

Through baptism one becomes a member of Christ’s Body, the Church. Baptism is not agreeing to an intellectual proposition; nor is it joining a club or social organization. It is incorporation in God’s own life. In baptism we are assured of acceptance as God’s children and are marked, claimed and made God’s own. Something so important deserves careful and deliberate preparation.

The Episcopal Church teaches that infants, children and adults may be baptized. In baptism we receive a precious gift, God’s gift of eternal love. Baptismal vows are made on behalf of infants or young children by their parents and sponsors. Older children and adults make their own promises.

Baptism is a corporate act appropriately administered within the Sunday Eucharist, as the gathered community worships in the church nave or Great Hall. In the service of baptism, the gathered community joins in welcoming a new member into the body of Christ, the Church.

At St. Columba’s, baptism for children is celebrated several times throughout the year. Adults are most often baptized at the Great Vigil of Easter, which is the night before Easter.

Baptism Schedule 2015

January 11, 2015 (Baptism of Our Lord)

9 am Eucharist in the Church Nave
9:15 am Eucharist in the Great Hall
Preparation classes: Dec. 2 & 9, 7–8:30 pm

February 15, 2015

11:15 am Eucharist in the Church Nave
11:15 am Eucharist in the Great Hall
Preparation classes: Feb. 3 & 10, 7–8:30 pm

April 4, 2015 (Easter Vigil)

7 pm Great Vigil of Easter in the Church Nave
(Youth and adults only) For preparation contact: The Rev. Rose Duncan (202-363-4119, rduncan@columba.org)

April 5, 2015 (Easter Day)

5 pm Festival Eucharist in the Church Nave
Preparation classes: Mar. 17 & 24, 7–8:30 pm

May 24, 2015 (Pentecost)
9 am Eucharist in the Church Nave
9:15 am Eucharist in the Great Hall
Preparation classes: May 5 & 12, 7–8:30 pm

July 12, 2015

9:15 am Great Hall Eucharist in the Church Nave
10:30 am Eucharist in the Church Nave
Preparation class: June 2, 7–9 pm

Baptism Preparation

Parents and godparents who want to present infants for baptism prepare by taking part in a series of two evening classes (except where noted), 7-8:30 pm, to explore the meaning of the sacrament and  the commitment they are making. Child care is provided if requested.

We make individual arrangements to help prepare youth 16 and younger for baptism. Adults (over age 16) who want to make a mature commitment to the Christian faith through baptism should attend the “Commitment and Faith” classes offered in the spring and fall.

Baptism rehearsal occurs the Saturday prior to each baptism at 10 am in the Church Nave. The person to be baptized, family members and sponsors are expected to attend. This is a time to work out the logistics for the next day’s service and to answer any final questions.

Click here to register online for baptism.

Click here to download a PDF of the registration form.
(Please print, complete and return to the parish office.)

Questions? Please contact the Rev. Rose Duncan or Pattie Ames. Application forms are due six weeks before classes start.

Keeping the promises

Baptism is more than a day; it begins the life-long journey and relationship with God in Christ.

Parents and Sponsors

Parents make a solemn commitment to give their child a Christian upbringing within the family of Christ’s Church. This includes helping the child to be regular in public worship and personal prayer—not only by their teaching, but especially by their example and their prayers.

Parents and sponsors are making a life decision for another human being. Those who present a child to be baptized will themselves be baptized people and able to profess the Christian faith. They will be prepared to affirm their allegiance to Christ and his Church and their rejection of evil. Baptism of children is only appropriate when at least one parent is an active participant of the worshipping life of the Church.

The Parish

The parish supports parents and other sponsors in keeping the promises you make on behalf of your child. In addition to providing instruction and preparation for baptism, the parish assists parents in teaching children the meaning of the Gospel sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist. The parish also provides opportunities for Christian formation and celebration through all ages and stages of life.

Suggestions for selection of
baptismal sponsors

Sponsors of infants and children, commonly called godparents, present their candidates, make promises in their own names, and also take vows on behalf of their candidates. (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 298)

The role of godparents or sponsors is to aid parents in fulfilling the promises they make to God and the child, providing a Christian witness by the way they live. A person selected to serve as a sponsor:

• Should be a Christian. Only such a person can, in good conscience before God and the Church, make the baptismal renunciations and promises on behalf of the candidate.

• Should participate regularly with a Christian congregation for his or her own spiritual growth.

• Is expected to enter into a long-term relationship with the person baptized.

• May be a family member, relative or friend.

People wonder about the appropriate number of sponsors. The church requires that there be one or more baptized persons. A booklet that explains the sponsor’s role in more detail is available; contact Elizabeth Adegboyega-Panox (202-363-4119, ext. 207) if you wish to have one mailed to you. We recommend that you give or send one to each sponsor.

Preparing for baptism

St. Columba’s wants to make the baptism of your infant or child as meaningful as possible. Families who have been registered members of St. Columba’s for three months may schedule a baptism. A form must be completed for each baptismal candidate and must be returned at least six weeks prior to the baptism. Upon receipt of your application, a letter of confirmation will be sent to you. A member of the clergy will also contact you to answer any questions you may have.

Click here to register online.

Click here to download a PDF of the registration form.
(Please print, complete and return to the parish office.)

For more information, contact the Rev. Rose Duncan (202-363-4119, ext. 212) or Pattie Ames, our Director of Children’s Ministries (202-363-4119, ext. 222).

It is the sacred responsibility of the church to prepare parents, sponsors and candidates for the crucial role they undertake. Prior to the baptism, parents are required to take a two-session course to prepare for the vows and commitments being made on behalf of the child presented. Sponsors are invited and encouraged to participate in these sessions as they are able. Child care is provided if requested two weeks prior to the first session.

Parishioners age 16 and older who are seeking baptism prepare by taking the Commitment and Faith course, and by participating regularly in worship and deepening their involvement at St. Columba’s.

Registration forms

Online registration form

PDF of registration form

. . . you are sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism and marked as Christ’s own for ever. (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 308)

Back to the Gospel Sacraments

Photo: Chip Somodevilla


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