Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
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What is baptism?

Baptism is the sacrament (an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace) by which God adopts us as his children and makes us members of Christ's Body, the Church, and inheritors of the kingdom of God.  Baptism is union with Christ in his death and resurrection, birth into God's family the Church, forgiveness of sins, and new life in the Holy Spirit (BCP, 858).


What about infants and children?

In the Episcopal tradition, a person may be baptized at any age.  Parents who bring their young children to be baptized make an additional commitment to raise these children within the Church, to know Christ and to be able to follow him.  According to our Catechism, infants are baptized so that they can share citizenship in the Covenant, membership in Christ, and redemption by God (BCP, 858).

When can I be baptized?

Each baptism is a celebration of the whole church.  Baptisms are celebrated on Sundays as part of our regular service, and on special occasions when the meaning of baptism can be particularly highlighted.  There are four times in the year when baptisms are particularly appropriate: The Easter Vigil, Pentecost Sunday, All Saints' Day or the Sunday after All Saints' Day, and on the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord (the first Sunday after the Epiphany). Baptisms on Sundays other than these times can be arranged by talking with the clergy.


How do I prepare for baptism?

A baptismal rehearsal is scheduled for each baptismal Sunday on the Saturday before.  Baptismal candidates and their sponsors should be present.  In the case of children who are being baptized, parents and godparents are asked to attend this rehearsal.  Additionally, a baptismal preparation class is required for parents of children on the Wednesday before the baptismal Sunday.  For adults, the Adult Membership/Confirmation class (Episcopal 101)  is required.  Please speak with the clergy if you have any additional questions about preparation.  


What about sponsors or godparents?

Consistent with the ancient tradition, it is required that every baptismal candidate have a sponsor (this can be a parent or what is commonly called a godparent for children).  Sponsors are typically present at the time of the baptism, and will serve as a Christian friend and mentor throughout life.  Sponsors must be baptized Christians.  We additionally recommend that you select someone who is active in their faith community, and with whom you can anticipate a long-term relationship.  1-4 sponsors per candidate is appropriate.


How do I sign up?
Speak to the clergy.