MARKHAM LUTHERAN CHURCH
Baptism and Confirmation
Baptism and Confirmation
Growing spiritually doesn't happen when we merely know what Jesus says. It happens when we apply his radical way. Transformation happens best within the context of community. To grow spiritually, we have to be in relationship with God and one another.
Adult Baptism/Affirmation of Baptism and Confirmation:
Each person's situation is different. Perhaps you were baptized, but never confirmed. You may have been confirmed in another denomination. Maybe you've never been baptized. Normally, instruction takes place over a period of weeks or months. Discuss your desire to become a member of the Body of Christ at MLC with Pastor Larry. Together the two of you will decide on the best program for you.
Baptism of a Child:
Parents, please see Pastor Larry to receive guidelines for choosing Christian godparents for your child, and to discuss dates for the service and the required pre-baptism meeting with parent(s) and, if possible, pre-approved godparents.
Growing up in the faith at MLC includes attending Sunday School, worshiping and singing with the congregation, being part of the fun of coffee hour, church dinners, Vacation Bible School, All Hallow’s Eve/All Saints’ Trunk ‘n Treat and other special events, participating in work days, helping decorate the church throughout the Liturgical Year, especially for Advent, Christmas, and Easter, and much more. In other words, it means being an active participant in the life of the Church!
“Baptism inaugurates a life of discipleship in the death and resurrection of Christ. Baptism conforms us to the death and resurrection of Christ precisely so that we repent and receive forgiveness, love our neighbors, suffer for the sake of the Gospel, and witness to Christ.” (“The Use of the Means of Grace: A Statement on the Practice of Word and Sacrament,” principle 14, page 20).
Before contacting Pastor about bringing your child to be baptized, seriously consider the previous statements. Is your baptism and Christian faith the first priority of your life? Are you already an active member of the church, and is it your intention to fulfill the promises you will be asked to make on behalf of your child and yourself at the font? Any other reason, be it family pressure or tradition, should play no part in your decision to present your child for Holy Baptism.
Youth Confirmation Program:
It is understood that some children and youth may wish to be baptized and/or confirmed whose parents/guardians are not church members, or are not interested in participating in the life of the Church, but do not object to you doing so. You are welcome. Your personal motivation will help you to achieve success, and we will support you every step of the way!
Confirmation begins at baptism and is lifelong!
When you brought your child to the font to be baptized, you promised to make a disciple of her/him/them by: bringing them up in a Lutheran-Christian home, bringing them to Sunday school and Church, participating as a family in church activities, telling them the faith stories of the Bible and teaching them how to read the Bible for themselves, teaching them the importance of prayer, and how to pray, especially the Lord's prayer, and teaching them the Creeds, those ancient witnesses of faith.
WHEN IT COMES RIGHT DOWN TO IT, NOTHING CAN BE ADDED TO HOLY BAPTISM. A life of growth and maturation in the faith flows from the sacramental waters. A person receives God's grace and the Holy Spirit at their baptism, being born again and becoming a member of the Church, the Body of Christ.
Confirmation is a pastoral and educational ministry of the Church, which helps the baptized child to identify more deeply with the Christian community and participate more fully in its mission.
Normally, sixth, seventh, and eighth graders participate in a three-year confirmation ministry of catechesis, community life, and service in preparation for the rite of the Affirmation of Baptism at the conclusion of the third year of study. The confirmation years are years of identity formation. Through reflection on the Bible and Martin Luther’s Small Catechism, students explore and reflect upon their Lutheran-Christian identity. In response to all the gifts that have been given to them in their baptism and through this community of worship, they are invited to affirm their faith at the conclusion of this ministry training on Confirmation Sunday.
Affirming one’s baptism is not a one-time act, but something that can and should be done at many points throughout our lives. The confirmation ministry consists in bringing to bear the fullness of the church’s life and mission upon the young person’s life so that affirmation may begin and continue.
Being confirmed is a response to God’s gift in Baptism. Your child is eligible to apply for the three year confirmation program if:
- He/she/they is a sixth grader (or 11 yrs. old; if your child will turn 11 yrs. old in the fall, although due to their birth date they may be in the 5th grade, talk to pastor; older youth are eligible to apply for the confirmation program, too) and has attended Sunday school and church regularly since infancy, but for at least the previous three years. (If your family is new to the Christian faith and/or the Lutheran Church, Pastor will work with you and your "tween"/young teen or older teen to prepare her/him/them to join the confirmation program.)
Confirmation is a serious commitment. Parents/guardians, please consider the place your Christian faith holds in your family life and your current involvement in the life of the church. If you and your family are not already regularly attending Sunday school and church and participating in the life of the church, is the whole family excited to start? Is the confirmand looking forward to Confirmation, or do they feel that they are being forced to go through the program because "We're Lutherans and that's what we do"? Discuss the requirements of the confirmation program with your child/children, and how it will impact any potentially conflicting activities, such as sports/cheer. Explain that the confirmation program must be given top priority.
- Confirmation class meets weekly for an hour. If students have not already made their First Communion, the first several sessions will be about Holy Communion (Eucharist). (If for some reason a confirmand has not been baptized, they will receive additional instruction to prepare for that Sacrament.)
- As touched on above, the course of study during the three years of preparation for confirmation will be the Bible, Luther's Small Catechism, Lutheran Living (a deeper exploration of important teachings such as Grace, the Cross, Law and Gospel, etc.), and the liturgical readings for the Church Year.
- Confirmands will memorize the Creeds (Apostles and Nicene) and the Lord's Prayer (if they have not already done so at home and/or in Sunday School), and continue becoming familiar with and thinking about how Scripture relates to and impacts their modern lives.
- Confirmands will be given other reading and writing assignments throughout the three year confirmation period.
- If a student must miss a class session for a legitimate reason (illness, death in the family), Pastor must receive advance notice, and the session must be made-up before the next class.
- Confirmands are expected to attend Sunday School and church regularly, as well as other scheduled services, such as, but not limited to, mid-week Advent and Lenten vespers services, Ash Wednesday and all Holy Week services, and at least one of the Easter services.
- Confirmands will serve as acolytes throughout the year, including summer, assisting the pastor as needed during worship services (see Acolyte Handbook).
- Confirmands will fully participate in worship (making the sign of the cross, praying, singing the hymns and making the appropriate responses in the liturgy, etc.)
- Confirmands are expected to take part in other events and activities sponsored by the congregation, such as helping with fund raisers and work days and attending social functions.
- During their final year of Confirmation, a confirmand will choose their Bible verse and work to prepare their statement of faith. They will share this with the congregation at the Confirmation service in a way that's comfortable for them.
- It is up to the parents/guardians and confirmands to fulfill the requirements of the Confirmation program. Pastor and other teachers will encourage and help you as far as they are able, with your cooperation.
Confirmands are strongly encouraged to choose a ministry, if they aren't already involved: There are many options. The standard ones are Altar Guild (we already have two junior members, who learned by helping their parent and others from a young age), ushering, reading the Lessons (Lector), assisting with church events, etc.
* We will tailor the requirements to the confirmand. We want them to feel comfortable, confident, and successful!