Baptism picture Baptism is a special ceremony of the Christian Church (known as a sacrament) which declares God’s love for the person being baptised (child or adult) and welcomes that person into the fellowship of the Christian Church throughout the world and across the denominations. Someone who has been baptised within the Uniting Church will have their baptism recognised as valid and sufficient within most other Christian churches throughout the world.

God’s love for us is freely given in Jesus Christ. It is not dependant on how “good” we may be, nor on what skills and abilities we may have. Whoever and whatever we are, God loves us anyway – unconditionally. Baptism celebrates that love and recognises that it embraces the individual being baptised.

Baptism is also a way in which we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the first century, baptism was almost always by complete immersion – the person being baptised went right under the water. First century Christians saw this as facing the possibility of death (by drowning) and thus sharing in the death of Christ. They saw their rising from the water as a sharing in the resurrection.

Although we in the twenty-first century may express these ideas in different terms, we still recognise that the Christian life means sharing in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Baptism, the sacrament of entry into the fellowship of the Christian community, is the most appropriate way of declaring this.

If you bring your child for baptism, you are indicating your intention that your child will grow up within the fellowship of the Christian Church. Naturally, your child does not grasp the full meaning of what is happening to him/her, but nor do we adults ever fully grasp how great is God’s love for us. All of us continue to learn and grow within the Christian faith. Baptising your child is the Church’s way of saying that, when we consider all those people for whom Christ died and rose again, your child should be counted among them.

Because the Christian Church takes Baptism so seriously, it is a requirement of Uniting Church law that permission for each Baptism be given in advance by the leaders of the local congregation where the Baptism is to take place.

For this reason, the policy of Wesley Church on the Mall that parent who wish to have their child baptised within this church MUST first attend a Baptism Information Session. These are held on the Saturday morning (at 11:30am) and on the Monday evening (at 7:00pm) – sometimes switched to the Tuesday evening if other events fall on the Monday evening – immediately preceding the monthly meeting of the Elders of the Congregation (which is held on the second Wednesday of each month). Parents may choose to attend either the Saturday morning session or the Monday (or Tuesday) evening session. They will be notified within 48 hours of the Elders’ meeting of any decision that is made.