The Spirit of Community in the Midst of the Big City

The City of Calgary, AB, Canada

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WELCOME: We’re glad you are thinking of Baptism for your child or yourself. This pamphlet is designed to answer some questions about preparation for Baptism at Foothills United Church.

BAPTISM: HISTORY AND MEANING. The Sacrament of Baptism traces its origins to Jewish rites of purification, to Jesus’ decision to be baptized by John the Baptist and to the risen Christ’s instruction, recorded in Matthew 28:18-20, to tell others the Good News of God’s love and to baptize them. Since the first century Baptism has been the rite of initiation, the way of joining the Christian church. During the service, the people of Foothills promise to help the people being baptized grow in faith. Therefore, we expect that parents asking for infant baptism will bring their children to the church for Sunday School and other activities as they grow older, and we commit as a congregation to providing opportunities for learning and growth for both children and adults.

WHO MAY BE BAPTIZED? Infants, children, youth and adults who have never been baptized are all welcome to seek Baptism.

WHY PREPARE FOR BAPTISM? Christian Baptism involves a commitment to follow Christ’s example and teachings, as well as membership in a particular church family. Years ago the preparation involved a three year journey of instruction, prayer, Bible reading, fasting and refraining from bathing. You may be glad to hear that our present preparation is much briefer – and people may take all the baths they wish! Our three-fold preparation is designed to help you learn about the congregation and to help us to welcome and get to know you. As well we will share further information about the history, symbols and meaning of baptism and familiarize people with what will happen during the ceremony.

BAPTISM FOR INFANTS AND YOUNG CHILDREN. Parents seeking Baptism for young children are asked to take the Baptismal vows on their child’s behalf. It is our hope that eventually the child will make the vow to follow Christ for him/herself at the time of Confirmation (usually during grade 9). 

  1. Parents call the church office (288-5632), share preliminary information and the Office Manager sends them this pamphlet and a ‘Baptism Request’ form.
  2. Parents and children begin to attend worship, which is at 10:30 a.m. Sundays with a sing song at 10:15 a.m. We ask them to attend at least three times before the Baptism. This helps them get to know the congregation and decide whether this is the church in which they choose to raise their child.
  3. Parents call the office and arrange for a visit by the minister and a person from the congregation. The visit could be in your home or at the church. The goals are for us to get to know you and your child and to answer any questions you have about Foothills. We want to help you feel welcome in the congregation.
  4. Parents attend a short (usually 1 hours) gathering with other parents. The history, symbols and meaning of Baptism are discussed and we clarify exactly what happens during the ceremony and why.

BAPTISM OF OLDER CHILDREN. Steps 1-4 (as indicated on page 2 of the pamphlet): The child is encouraged to read a storybook about Baptism, to meet with the minister and ask any questions he/she has and is welcome to attend the Baptism Preparation Gathering, if she/he wishes, with the parents.

BAPTISM OF YOUTH AND ADULTS. To prepare for Baptism, people are invited to attend a Confirmation Class of approximately six sessions, with reading, videos and exercises to do between meetings. The purpose of these classes is to help foster faith growth by discussing questions and introducing key tools for faith development, such as Bible encounter, audio visual resources and prayer. We consider the United Church of Canada – what it is, where it came from, what it does and what it means to be a church member. 

Topics covered are wide ranging: e.g.

  • Are there various ways to pray?
  • Why are there different denominations?
  • How does the United Church connect with people and needs in Canada and around the world?
  • What is the church’s mission in today’s world?
  • How can our faith guide us in making difficult decisions?

The exact outline and emphasis is tailored to the interests of the participants.

SUMMARY: We look forward to helping you prepare for Baptism and to welcoming you into our church family. Please call the church office (288-5632) to arrange the next step.

Foothills United Church
3803-69 St. NW, Calgary, AlbertaT3B 2J9 

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