Baptism is one of the most significant moments in a person’s life. Both Catholic and Protestant traditions see baptism—sometimes called christening—as a sacrament, a time when God is uniquely present, a public affirmation of faith, and the beginning of Christian discipleship. It is a reverent and joyful occasion.
As you consider having your child baptized, please reflect on the following two themes:
- Baptism is an activity of faith. When a child is baptized, the parents reaffirm their own faith in Christ and make a public commitment to raise the child to be a follower of Jesus until the child is able to affirm the faith for his or herself.
- Baptism should always be celebrated in the midst of a church community. Raising a child in the faith takes a great deal of love, prayer, and work. In baptism, the wider community of faith takes responsibility for helping to raise the child, for supporting and encouraging the parents, and modeling the Christian life.
Cannon Chapel is a place of beauty and prayer. It is a place that has been deeply meaningful to many University students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends over the years. Given the beauty of the Chapel and the deep emotional connections many people feel, many parents desire to have their children baptized in the Chapel. Often, however, this desire is rooted in emotional or sentimental connections rather than congregational commitments.
Because of the sanctity of baptism, the Office of the Chaplaincy encourages parents to talk with one another about their own faith and about why it is important to have the child baptized. Sometimes parents feel family or cultural pressure to have their children baptized.
Given the public, congregational nature of baptism, the University chaplain advises parents to have their child baptized in the local congregation to which they belong. If you are not involved in a local congregation, you might consider one of the churches connected to the Chaplaincy's partner campus ministries. If you would like to talk further, contact the Chaplaincy at (804) 289-8500.