Christian Baptism

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If you have recently been blessed with the birth of a child then congratulations to you! In the church we rejoice with you at the birth of your child: it is a joy and a privilege, but also a serious responsibility.

If you are considering having your child baptised then you will find some useful information on this page.

In the Church of Scotland we practise 'infant baptism', meaning that we baptise children as well as adults. Some churches only baptise adults at a time when they make a decision to follow Jesus. We baptise children as well because we want to emphasise that God first loves us. When we baptise a child we are asserting the fact that even before we are ever aware of it, God loves us. His grace extends to us all, no matter our age or understanding. The symbol of water sprinkled is a symbol of purification and reminds us of God's love.

When we later come to make a decision to follow Jesus this is usually tied with becoming a member of the church.

Common Questions

What is baptism?

Baptism allows the church to publicly welcome the person being baptised into God’s family. We believe that it is through being baptised that people are part of the worldwide church. We often talk about people becoming members of the church of Jesus Christ during a Baptism service. Baptism, we believe, is the sign of ‘dying’ to our old lives and ‘rising to new life in Christ’. We sprinkle water on the head of the person to be baptised symbolising the washing away of the old life.

If I am baptised, am I then also a member of the church?

The Church of Scotland recognises that to become a ‘communicant’ member you must, as an adult, profess your faith in Jesus Christ. So although, during baptism, you become a member of the worldwide church, to be a full ‘communicant’ member of the Church of Scotland, you must acknowledge your faith in Jesus Christ understand what it means. If you are interested about becoming a member of our church, please see the Church Membership page on the website.

Who can be baptised?

The Church of Scotland practices infant baptism, as well as adult baptism. In the case of infant baptism the Church expects at least one parent either to be a member of the Church or willing to become a member. In the baptismal service the parent or parents profess their own faith and promise to give their child a Christian upbringing. In the case of adult baptism the person himself or herself makes the appropriate promises.

When are people baptised?

Baptism is administered at Sunday worship in front of the congregation. This emphasises that baptism is part of the life of the church and stresses the important nature of the sacrament. It used to be customary that children would be baptised in the family house, the manse, or even the church vestry. However, it is only in very exceptional circumstances that baptism can be administered outwith Sunday worship today.

How can I find out more?

If you would like to know more about Baptism for yourself or for your children, then please contact our minister who will be happy to discuss it with you.


Vows made during Infant Baptism

When you bring your child for baptism the church asks of you two questions, and then a further question of the congregation as a whole.

These questions are:

To the parents or guardians:

  • Do you confess your faith in God as your Creator and Father in Jesus Christ as your Lord and in the Holy Spirit as your guide and helper? (I do)
  • Do you promise, with God’s help, to teach your child(ren) the truths and duties of the Christian faith and to encourage him/her/them as he/she/they grow(s) in the life and worship of the church? (I do)

These questions and your response are important. For the most part you will be the means by which God's love will be shown to your child and these promises reflect your commitment to do that with God's help. Your child will look to you as an example. Baptism is also a sign of your child's welcome into the church family.

We want to help you as best we can to fulfil the promises you make as parents and so the congregation also make a commitment when they answer the following question during the service:

  • Do you, the representatives here of Christ’s church, welcome [child's name] into the family of the church and promise them your friendship, support and prayers? (We do)

Vows made during Adult Baptism

If you were not baptised as a child then we would be delighted to see you take the step to be baptised as an adult. Sometimes parents do this as they bring their own children to be baptised. An adult baptism is usually immediately followed by the public profession of faith that proceeds a full welcome into the church as one of its members.

Again, there are two questions put to you, the first before the baptism and the second after the baptism.

  • Do you, in the presence of this congregation, turn away from sin and ask for God’s forgiveness; seeking a deepening faith in which you will honour God and love other people as yourself? (I do) 
  • Do you promise, with God’s help, to serve the Lord and to continue to be a part of the family of the Church for the rest of your life? (I do)