Frequently asked questions about baptism at Pound Ridge Community Church

Why should infants be baptized?

In the United Methodist Church, we offer the sacrament of baptism to people of any age.  Infant baptism is encouraged in our church, although not required.   This practice is in keeping with the oldest traditions of the church, as infants were baptized in New Testament times together with the other members of their families.

In infant baptism, parents take vows on behalf of their children, committing to raise their child as part of a Christian community.  Children who are baptized as infants continue to grow in their faith through involvement in the church and subsequently “confirm” their baptism vows, taking responsibility for those vows themselves, through confirmation around the age of thirteen.  

My child was baptized in the Lutheran (or any other) church.  Does he/she need to be rebaptized?

In the United Methodist Church, we recognize the baptism of every other Christian church as valid.  We do not “rebaptize.”

Do I have to be a member of the Pound Ridge Community Church to have my child baptized there?

Parent membership is not a requirement for the baptism of children in The United Methodist Church.   Being a Christian disciple through regular church involvement and committing to raise your child as part of the church community are requirements.

Baptism is not an end in itself.  It is the threshold to a lifelong journey of faith.  Although baptism is primarily the work of God, important promises are made by those present.  You are making a commitment to your child, and the congregation also makes a commitment to you – to support you as parents, and to nurture your child on his or her own walk with Christ.  Because the vows taken in baptism cannot be fulfilled outside of a committed relationship with the church, the sacrament is generally available only to those who have been an active part of our church family.

For the same reason – that the commitment of the gathered congregation is an indispensible part of the sacrament – baptisms are always performed as part of the regular Sunday worship service.

But don’t I need to have my child baptized right away “in case”…?

In The United Methodist Church we teach that baptism is a sacrament - a ritual commanded by Jesus – that mysteriously conveys the grace of God. This sacrament is a precious gift from a God who has always loved your child.   We believe that a child who dies without being baptized is received into the love and presence of God because the Spirit has already worked in that child to bestow saving grace.

Although baptism is important, there is no hurry if you are not currently connected with a church.  But as you consider your child’s need for God, reflect on your own.  Christian churches proclaim one faith, but they all have different personalities.  We encourage you to first become part of a church where you feel at home, and then celebrate the baptism of your child with your own church family –  whether it's here, at Pound Ridge Community Church, or in another church.

How do I schedule a baptism?

Contact the church (office@poundridgecommunitychurch.org or 914-764-9000), at least a month before your desired date.  Baptisms can be scheduled throughout the year with the exception of the seasons of Advent and Lent.  Families are asked to meet with the pastor before the date of their sacrament.

What is the process for baptizing older children, youth or adults?

An appropriate orientation for the baptism ritual will be arranged depending on the individual’s age and circumstances. If a youth is near confirmation age, the rituals of Baptism and confirmation may be appropriately combined. Our pastor will be glad to discuss this with you.  To arrange a baptism for an adult or for a combination of family members at once, please contact the church office.

Can I have a retired pastor or a pastor from another church?

The clergy person appointed to serve a church generally performs all baptisms.  If you have another pastor who is a special part of your life and want that individual to help officiate, please discuss this possibility with Pastor Jim.  The invitation to the other pastor must always come from the pastor appointed to the church.

Should we have godparents? 

In The United Methodist Church we don’t require “godparents” per se, but we do welcome your naming baptismal sponsors.  These persons are included in the ritual of baptism and commit themselves to supporting your child’s faith development.  Sponsors do not need to be church members, but should be baptized Christians.   If there is an individual whom you would like to include in the baptism ritual who is not Christian, please speak to Pastor Jim about it.

 For more information about the United Methodist understanding of baptism, click here:   http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/baptism