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95 Remuera Rd, Remuera,
Auckland 1050, New Zealand

Baptisms at St Mark's Church

 

In any one year a number of people are baptised at St Mark’s Church. Most of them are infants but we also baptise adults. Baptism is a joyful occasion. It marks a new beginning in a person’s life when they come under the Lordship of Christ and his reign of love. 

Baptism is one of two sacraments recognised by the Anglican Church, the other being Eucharist or Holy Communion. They are rites that were commanded by Christ for his followers to continue practicing. As far as baptism is concerned, in Matthew’s Gospel the risen Christ declared that all authority in heaven and earth had been given him (Matt 28:18) and commanded his disciples to

[g]o therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matt 28:19-20).

In the case of the Eucharist, the Gospel of Luke records Jesus commanding his disciples to continue breaking bread and drinking wine in the way he had done at his last supper, in remembrance of him (Luke 22:18-20). Saint Paul, in his First letter to the Corinthians, reports on the same commandment:

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

Sacraments convey God’s grace to people in a special way. They are, as the Catechism in the 1989 Prayer Book describes them, ‘outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ to the Church.’ (p.932). The same Catechism goes on to define grace as ‘God’s freely-given love for people, forgiving sins, enlightening minds, stirring hearts and strengthening wills. Through grace we are given strength to live as loving sons and daughters of God.’ (p.932) The outward and visible sign in the sacrament of baptism is ‘[w]ater, by which a person is baptised in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.’ (p.933) The inward and spiritual grace that baptism conveys is ‘[t]he gift of union with Christ in his death and resurrection, birth into God’s family the Church, forgiveness of sins, and new life in the Holy Spirit.’ (p.933) Drawing upon metaphors from New Testament Scripture, the Catechism describes three effects of Baptism, namely, that by it ‘we are made children of God, members of Christ’s body the Church, and heirs of the Kingdom of God.’ (p.933)

Baptism initiates a person into the Church. Through it a person becomes a Christian which is why the rite is often referred to as Christening. This also explains the traditional location of baptismal fonts at the back of the church where people enter the building – it symbolises the idea that we enter the Church of God through the waters of baptism, through which we become part of a community that is nourished by Christ, Sunday by Sunday, with the bread and wine of the Eucharist served from the front of the church.

The intention of Anglican ministers when they baptise someone is that the candidate will become not just a member of the Anglican Church, but of the Church throughout the world, which is manifest in many different forms– from Orthodox and Roman Catholic to Brethren, Quaker and many more besides.

What is required of people seeking baptism is their renouncement of evil and commitment to ‘turn from sin to Christ as the Way, the Truth and the Life.’ (p.933) Infants and young children who are brought to be baptised by their parents or guardians are not in a position to make this commitment for themselves, but the Anglican Church believes that it is sufficient for their parents or guardians – and godparents – to make this commitment on their child’s behalf:

When infants are brought for Baptism, the Church acknowledges that children can share in the community of faith, enter the new Covenant, and experience the renewing spirit of God. As a response to baptism such children are called to profess faith in Christ for themselves and to receive the laying on of hands in Confirmation. (p.933)

Confirmation is a rite that is linked to baptism. It is normally performed once a baptised person has arrived at a point where they feel ready to make an explicit, public (in church) commitment to Christ. The rite can only be conferred by a Bishop. It used to be the case that only those who were confirmed were allowed to receive the bread and wine of Communion, but that is no longer the case. Now baptism is understood as making one a full member of the Church and children may, at their parent’s discretion, receive Communion from the day of their baptism.

If you feel called to be baptised or to have your child baptised, please get in touch with the Parish Office (telephone 09 520 2258 or email office@stmarks.org.nz) and we will arrange a time when a priest can meet with you to talk about this desire and arrange a time for you and/or the child in your care to be baptised and made a member of Christ’s body, the Church.

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Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them;
for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs

 

Dear Parishioners and Friends of St Marks

As we continue to do all we can as a nation to thwart the progress of the COVID-19 virus, churches and all other places of public gathering remain closed. The Church, as the gathered people of God, cannot meet person-to-person, but we are fortunate to have more means than any generation before us to stay in contact with one another. This website is one of the ways that the Parish of St Mark’s, Remuera remains a gathered people. We also remain in communion with one another by email, video conferencing and – not least, the telephone. And, vitally, we remain in communion with God through prayer. We are here for you. Get in contact with us via the means that suits you best (please see the contact list).
 
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his
countenance upon you, and give you peace.

                                                                 Numbers 6:24-26

The Reverend Dr Tony Surman
Vicar of St Mark’s Anglican Church
Remuera, Auckland 1050
 Tel: (09) 520 2258
 

 

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