Church of the Epiphany and Christ Church wants your baptism or the baptism of a member of your family to be as meaningful as possible. Because baptism is the primary sacrament of membership in the Body of Christ, families desiring to have a child baptized at Church of the Epiphany and Christ Church should be active parishioners of record (meaning actively attending and participating in the life of the parish and contributing on the record to the expenses of the parish) for at least one year prior to the desired baptismal date. When you are ready to schedule a baptism, contact the Rector to schedule an appointment to meet with him (973-676-8886).
Celebration of Holy Baptism takes place as a public service during regularly scheduled worship; Private baptisms are not offered and are only done in extreme pastoral emergencies. Dates for baptism at Church of the Epiphany and Christ Church follow the guidelines set forth in the Prayer Book and occur four times a year: at the Baptism of our Lord in early January, at the Easter Vigil in March or April (the customary time for adult baptisms), on Pentecost Sunday in May or June, and on all Saints Sunday, the first Sunday in November.
One pre-baptismal class is required, which both parents, all sponsors (godparents) and candidates age 7 and above are expected to attend. The class will be scheduled for all candidates for the same date. The class is a presentation of our understanding of Holy Baptism and includes a rehearsal of the baptism service.
The persons you select to serve as a sponsor/godparent:
- · Must already be a practicing Christian. Only such persons, in good conscience before God and the Church, can make the baptismal renunciations and promises on behalf of the candidate.
- · Need not be an Anglican/Episcopalian.
- · May be a family member, relative or friend.
- · Should participate regularly in a Christian congregation for his or her own spiritual growth.
- · Is expected to enter into a long-term relationship with the person baptized.
- · Must present a sponsor letter from their pastor certifying their active membership in a Christian church.
People often ask about the appropriate number of sponsors. The church requires that sponsors be one or more baptized persons. Church tradition formerly specified two men and a woman for a male candidate and two women and a man for a female candidate. We suggest that at least one woman and one man, other than the parents, be selected. This provides several persons for the baptismal connection between candidate and sponsor and creates balance and variety.
A booklet that explains the sponsor's role and offers suggestions on how to fulfill it is available from the Rector. We recommend that you give or send one to each sponsor.