Baptism & Communion
If you desire baptism for your self or your child, please contact the church. Below is a description of our understanding and practice of baptism.
The sacrament of baptism, the sign and seal of God’s grace and our response, is the foundational recognition of Christian commitment. It is appropriately celebrated following the reading and the proclaiming of the Word, and includes statements concerning the biblical meaning of baptism, the responsibility to be assumed by those desiring baptism for themselves or their children and the nurture to be undertaken by the church.
Those desiring the sacrament of baptism for their children or for themselves make vows that profess their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, renounce evil and affirm their reliance on God’s grace, declare their intention to participate actively and responsibly in the worship and mission of the church, declare their intention to provide for the Christian nurture of their child. The congregation profess its faith, using the Apostles’ Creed, voice its support of the baptized, express its willingness to take responsibility for the nurture of those baptized. An elder may lead the congregation in these professions and affirmations.
The minister offers a baptismal prayer. This prayer expresses thanksgiving for God’s covenant faithfulness, gives praise for God’s reconciling acts, asks that the Holy Spirit, attend and empower the baptism, make the water a water of redemption and rebirth, and equip the church for faithfulness.
The water used for baptism is applied to the person by pouring, sprinkling, or immersion. By whatever mode, the water is applied visibly and generously. The minister uses the name given the person to be baptized and baptizes the person in the name of the triune God. The says something similar to: “(your name), I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
A declaration is made to indicate the newly baptized person’s membership in the Church of Jesus Christ and the welcome of the congregation is extended.
At First United Presbyterian Church, all who believe and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are welcome to share in communion.
The Presbyterian/Reformed understanding of the Lord’s Supper is one of thanksgiving and remembrance for the self-offering of Jesus Christ once and for all time on a cross in Jerusalem. Christ’s perfect sacrifice of love and service is not re-enacted or reactualized at the Lord’s Supper; rather, in the joyful feast of eucharistic celebration, we offer our praise and thanksgiving to God for this amazing gift. Furthermore, the sacrament that Christ instituted for the remembrance of him takes the form of a simple meal — a sharing of bread and wine. Therefore, it is Presbyterian practice to refer to the Lord’s table rather than an altar.
To be sure, the memorial (or anamnesis) of Christ’s death and resurrection is an integral part of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. This is one of several theological themes implicit in the eucharistic meal. Others include: thanksgiving to God for the gifts and goodness of creation, prayer for the fruitful reception of the sacrament through the Holy Spirit, the communion of the faithful in the presence of Christ and the anticipation or foretaste of the heavenly banquet in the kingdom of God. Around the symbol of the “table” there is room for this rich feast of sacramental meaning.
Our congregation utilizes two different forms of serving communion. The traditional Presbyterian form is where the congregation remains seated in the pews and the elders of the congregation serve the elements to the congregation by passing trays through the pews. Each person takes a portion of the element and holds it until all have been served. The pastor then indicates that all should eat/drink the bread/grape juice.
The other form of serving the communion is called intinction. This form is a style which has the members of the congregation come forward to “stations” where the pastor and elders have the elements. Each person takes a portion of bread from a common loaf and then dips it into a cup containing the grape juice. The person then returns to their seat.