Resources for Celebrations of
Christian Initiation

These resources may also prove useful for reaffirmations of baptism on occasions during the Church Year with a particular baptismal focus such as the Easter, Pentecost and the Baptism of Christ.

 

Let us lift up our hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.

For the sacred gift of water, O God,
we do indeed give you thanks and praise.
In the beginning you brooded over the waters
to bring order out of chaos,
and with water you cleanse and replenish the earth,
nourishing and sustaining all living things.

O God of new life, we give you thanks.

From the great flood in the days of Noah
you saved those on the ark;
through the Red Sea you led your people
to freedom from slavery;
across the river Jordan you led Israel
to the land of promise.

O God of new life, we give you thanks.

In the waters of the Jordan
Jesus was baptised by John
and anointed by the Spirit.
Passing through the deep waters of death,
Christ buried our sins
and emerged to resurrection life.

O God of new life, we give you thanks.

 

Adapted by Nathan Nettleton from a baptismal prayer of Martin Luther.

Blaze forth among us, O Holy Spirit.
Ignite these waters with the fire of your love.

Charge them with consuming power,
to swallow all that is false
and sanctify all that is true.

Purge our delusions and embalm us in mercy
that we might surrender to the silent depths
with the crucified Christ,
ready to be raised,
and clothed in the life of the risen Christ.

Engulf me in your passion.
Embrace me in your darkness.
Enclose me in your silence.
I close my ears to confusion.
I close my eyes to enticements.
I close my heart to temptations.
Calm me, my Saviour, as you stilled the storm.
Comfort me, my Redeemer, keep me from destruction.
Immerse me, Lord Christ, in the depths of your peace.

A time of silence is observed for contemplation and reflection during which people are invited to reflect on the meaning of their baptism.

First five lines - Epiclesis written by Nathan Nettleton

 

 

 

"Surrender to the silence" adapted from The Disert Missal of the Anamchara Celtic Church. http://web2.airmail.net/anmchar1/disert.htm

Let us affirm the faith of the Church,
the faith into which we are baptised,
the faith in which we stand,

We believe in God,
the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

We believe in Jesus Christ,
God's only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father;
from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.

Amen.

 

Translation of the Apostles' Creed by ELLC.

If there is to be a baptism or confirmation in the service, continue here.
If no one is being baptised or confirmed,
click here to skip to the congregational reaffirmation of baptismal vows.

 

Sponsor:

Sisters and Brothers,
I present <name> for baptism into the life of Christ
and into the membership of Christ's Church in this place.

OR

Candidate:

Sisters and Brothers,
I ask you to baptise me into the life of Christ
and into the membership of his Church.

OR

Candidate:

Sisters and Brothers,
I wish to confirm the vows made at my baptism
and I ask you to accept me
into the membership of Christ's Church in this place.

Presentation written by Nathan Nettleton

In Baptism, we confess the faith received from the apostles.
Do you share the faith we have just declared?

Candidate: It is the faith in which I stand.

In Baptism we rise against the dominion of death.
Do you renounce Satan and all evil powers
which corrupt and destroy the creatures of God?

Candidate: I renounce all evil.

In Baptism, we are cleansed from sin and freed for godliness.
Do you reject selfish living, loveless desires,
and all that is false and unjust?

Candidate: I reject them all.

In Baptism, we are made one with Christ through faith.
Do you turn to Jesus Christ
and put your whole trust in his grace and love?

Candidate: I put my trust in Jesus Christ.

In Baptism, we are ordained to ministry in Christ's name.
Do you promise to follow and obey Christ,
and serve and pray for the world he loves?

Candidate: I will serve the Lord all my life.

In Baptism, we are incorporated into the body of Christ.
Do you pledge yourself to Christ's Church,
and, until God calls you on, to this congregation?

Candidate: I pledge myself to God's people.

 

The Decisions, adapted by Nathan Nettleton from traditional forms.

A celebrant touches the candidates ears and mouth and says:

<Name>, may the Holy Spirit open your ears
to receive God's holy Word,
and your mouth to proclaim God's praise.

Personal Testimony.
The Candidate is given the opportunity to give a personal account of their faith and of the experience of grace that has led to this act of commitment.

A celebrant says:

People of God, members of this church,
come, let us make a covenant with <name>:

We have heard your declaration of faith.
We have witnessed your vows
to live the life of the baptised.
So now we pledge ourselves to you.
As long as God calls us to walk together,
we will live out our baptism
as a loving community in Christ:
nurturing one another in faith,
upholding one another in prayer,
and encouraging one another in service,
to the glory and praise of God's name.

 

Written by Nathan Nettleton

If the candidate is to be baptised, continue below.
If the candidate has already been baptised, skip to the Confirmation.

 

The Baptism.

The candidate is taken to the baptistery and enters the water.

O God, who brings us to new birth in water and Spirit,
in this holy sacrament of baptism,
immerse <Name> with Christ
into the fullness of his life, death, and resurrection;
cleanse <Name> of all fear, guilt and sin;
fill and gift <Name> with your Holy Spirit;
and unite <Name> with your communion of saints.
Amen.

<Name>, with joy we baptise you,
in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit -
one God, the Mother of all creation.

The candidate is baptised in the water.

Candidate: Jesus is Lord!

Everybody: Hallelujah! Amen!

Written by Nathan Nettleton

The Confirmation

The sign of the cross is made on the forehead of the candidate using chrism oil, as the following is said:

I mark you with the sign of the cross.
May the cross of Christ always be between you and all evil powers.
May the cross of Christ always be between you and all ill will.
May the cross of Christ always be between you and all defilement.
May the cross of Christ be between you and all hurt or harm.

 

"Anointing blessing" from The Disert Missal of the Anamchara Celtic Church. http://web2.airmail.net/anmchar1/disert.htm

We are a royal priesthood, God's own people.
As the Apostles taught us,
let us lay hands on our new sister/brother,
and pray for the gracious gifts of the Holy Spirit:
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of humility and perseverance,
the spirit of joy and wonder and generosity.

The congregation gather around and lay hands on the candidate, offering free prayers for him or her and then singing a blessing.

Written by Nathan Nettleton

Congregational Reaffirmation of Baptismal Vows

Come let us all reaffirm our common baptism,
declaring our allegiance to the risen Christ
and our continuing commitment
to follow him in all our ways.

We have been baptised into Christ.
The life we once lived shared his death and was buried with him.
When Christ was raised from death by the glorious power of God,
we too were raised so that we might live a new life.

So now we pledge ourselves again to live out the fullness of our baptism.

With God's help we will continue:
in the community of faith;
in the apostle's teaching;
in the breaking of bread and the prayers.

With God's help we will continue:
to seek Christ in all people;
to love our neighbour as our self.

With God's help we will continue:
to proclaim and live the good news;
to work and pray for justice and peace;
to respect the dignity of every creature.

This is our pledge,
for to this we were baptised,
and in baptism, to this we were ordained.

 

Adapted by Nathan Nettleton from "Congregational Reaffirmation of Baptism", Uniting in Worship, Melbourne:Uniting Church, 1988, p.53

 

We are the body of Christ.

His Spirit is with us.

Let us lift up our hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.

(Insert the Preface of the Week here - available from Laughing Bird Weekly Texts)

 

Traditional

Therefore with the whole realm of nature around us,
With earth, sea and sky,

We sing to you.

With the angels and archangels who envelop us,
With all the saints before us and beside us,
With brothers and sisters, east and west, north and south,

We sing to you.

And with our loved ones,
separate from us now,
who yet, in this mystery are close to us,

We sing the hymn of unending praise:

 

Adapted from "The Prayer of Thanksgiving" on page 67 of The Iona Community Worship Book, Wild Goose Publications, Glasgow, 1991.

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of truth and light,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest!

 

Traditional

Blessed are you, O God,
by whose Word the heavens were formed
and the earth brought forth from the waters.
Your glory is reflected in all creation
and from you flow springs of living water
from which every creature draws life.

Blessed are you and blessed is your Son, Jesus,
who went down into the deep waters of death,
taking with him our guilt and fear,
and who was born again from the depths
with the divine word thundering in his ears,
declaring him to be the one
in whom earth and heaven are reconciled.

We bless you for Christ,
whose love like an ever flowing stream
floods over every boundary or border
that separates us from one another;
who calls us to plunge into his mercy
and draws us forth as new creatures,
declared with power to be pleasing to God
and anointed with Spirit holy
to proclaim your reign in all the earth.

 

Written by Nathan Nettleton and incorporating some lines from Prayers by Philip Newell, An Earthful of Glory, London:SPCK, 1996.

Blessed is our brother Jesus,
bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh;
who, on the night when he was betrayed,
took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and said:

"This is my body, which is for you.
Do this to remember me."

In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying:

"This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, whenever you drink it,
to remember me."

 

"Institution Narrative" by Janet Morley,
All Desires Known
, London:SPCK, 1992, p.48 (altered).

So, as we eat this bread and drink this cup,
we proclaim the mystery of our faith:

Christ has died;
Christ is risen;
Christ will come again.

 

Traditional

Therefore, here in this place,
we celebrate the life that was born at Bethlehem,
the life that Jesus has shared
among his community through the centuries,
And shares with us now.

 

From The Iona Community Worship Book, Glasgow: Wild Goose Publications, 1991, p.67

Made one with him,
and thus one with each other,
we lay before you these gifts of bread and wine,
in token of our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving,
for here we offer and present to you ourselves,
our bodies, minds and spirits,
to be a holy and continuous sacrifice to you.

 

Adapted by Nathan Nettleton
from "The Desert Missal" of the Anamchara Celtic Church. http://web2.airmail.net/anmchar1/disert.htm

Come now, O Spirit of Christ,
Brood over these bodily things,
this bread and this wine.

May they be for us
your body and blood,
Vibrant with life,
Healing, renewing
and making us whole.

And embrace us
with your life-giving power,
that as bread and wine are made one with us,
we may become one with you,

Bone of your bone,
Flesh of your flesh,
living our prayer
and praying our life
until love and fidelity embrace,
peace and justice kiss,
and all are free as Christ is free.

 

Epiclesis adapted by Nathan Nettleton from prayers by Janet Morley, All Desires Known, London:SPCK, 1992, p.47 & 49; "Prayer of Blessing for the Sunday Morning Communion" The Iona Community Worship Book, Glasgow: Wild Goose Publications, 1991, p.67; and the ICEL translation of Psalm 85:10.

 

Because you are one with us, O Christ,
make us one with you as we pray
the prayer you taught us:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.

For the Kingdom, the power and the glory
are yours, now and forever.
Amen.

Translation of the Lord's Prayer by ELLC.