"For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." -- Galatians 3:27
"For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit." -- I Corinthians 12:13
Baptism with water in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit marks our initiation into the Christian life. It is an unrepeatable Sacrament that can be administered at any age, from infants a few days old to those well advanced in years. In Holy Baptism by sharing in Christ's death and resurrection we receive new birth as members of Christ's Body, the Church, receive the forgiveness of sins, and are made inheritors of the kingdom of heaven.
The Sacrament of Holy Baptism is normally administered during the principal Sunday Mass three times a year on the Great Baptismal Days: the Sunday after All Saints Day (November 1); the First Sunday after the Epiphany (January 6); and the Day of Pentecost (Whitsunday). Adult Baptisms are particularly appropriate at the Great Vigil of Easter, which is held every year on the evening of Holy Saturday.
Holy Baptism can also be arranged for times other than the principal Sunday morning service, although in this case it is preferably administered during one of our regularly scheduled daily Masses. Except in emergency, Baptism is not administered during the seasons of Advent or Lent.
Each candidate for Holy Baptism is presented by one or more sponsors (also known as godparents), who must be themselves be baptized and practicing Christians. The choice of sponsors is subject to approval by the Rector.
There is no charge for Baptism at S. Stephen’s. However, many families wish to make some offering in thanksgiving.
If somebody who has not been baptized is near death, and wants to be baptized -- or in the case of an infant or small child the parents want the child to be baptized -- the clergy should be called immediately, at any time of the day or night. In cases of dire emergency, when death is imminent, a lay person (who need not be a Christian) may administer the baptism with water using the formula, "[Name], I baptize thee in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Baptisms administered under these conditions should be reported to the clergy immediately so that they can be recorded in the parish register and appropriate pastoral follow-up offered. If the baptized person recovers, the baptism is not repeated.