Sunday Worship
9:00 and 11:00 am


5700 Pheasant Hill Rd., Monona, WI 53716
608-222-1241; Office@ststlc.net


Office Hours: Mon-Thurs 9:00 am-2:00 pm

           
     

Wondering About Baptism?

St. Stephen’s is pleased and eager to celebrate baptisms, whether you’ve welcomed a new baby into your family, haven’t gotten around to baptism for a child, or would like to be baptized yourself!

In Lutheran understanding, Holy Baptism is one of two sacraments (along with the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion). It is primarily a celebration of God’s grace-filled promise, a once-and-for-all declaration of God’s abiding love and forgiveness and eternal life with you no matter what may come. As such, Lutherans practice infant baptism. But just as it’s never too early to be baptized, it’s never too late!

Baptisms at St. Stephen’s typically happen during a Sunday worship service, since it is as part of congregational life that our ongoing faith development happens and where we continue to grow as Jesus’ disciples. 8:00 and 10:00 are more traditional services. 11:00 is an intimate rock service, where baptisms often involve the whole assembly in remembering and renewing the promise God made to each of us in water. Most any service can be scheduled; there are only occasional Sundays when baptisms do not fit into the worship service.

With that, a few details of preparation:
· Baptism is predominantly God’s work and not ours. It is God’s claim on our lives.
  Along with that, though, we make commitments. Baptism is not just a “nice thing to do”
  or an insurance policy “just in case something bad happens.” Baptism is connected to
  wanting to live a Christian life, which includes involvement in a congregation.

· If you haven’t been to worship at St. Stephen’s before, we invite and encourage you to
  attend. This will give you a feeling for what the baptismal service will be like and be a
  chance to meet our pastors.

· Check with family and friends for a Sunday or two that would work well in your schedules,
  then contact the church office (222-1241 or office@ststlc.net ) to set up the date.

· Be thinking about who you will choose for godparents or sponsors. Most often that is two
  people. But it can be one or three or whatever. The only requirements are that they
  should be people who will care for your child (or you) and find God and church important
  enough that they will encourage and motivate participation in a life of faith. Most likely,
  you’ll want your sponsors to be present at the baptism, though on occasion we have also
  used Skype or shared worship DVDs afterward.

· Traditionally a white gown or outfit is worn for baptism. This is a symbol of being washed
  clean and made new. Sometimes these are new clothes, other times they have been in
  families for generations. But you don’t need white clothes; there’s nothing “wrong” to
  wear for a baptism.

· In the week or so before the baptism, a pastor will meet with you to review some of the
  meanings of baptism, as well as to do a walkthrough of the details. This meeting takes
  about 45 minutes.

If you’d like a greater understanding on what Lutherans believe happens in baptism, here is a link to a nice article.

Here also is the section on Holy Baptism from Martin Luther’s Small Catechism

The Sacrament of Holy Baptism
I. What is Baptism?
Baptism is not simply plain water. Instead, it is water used according to God's command and connected with God's Word.

What then is this word of God?
Where our Lord Christ says in Matthew 28: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

II. What gifts or benefits does baptism grant?
It brings about forgiveness of sins, redeems from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe it, as the words and promises of God declare.

What are these words and promises of God?
Where our Lord Christ says in Mark 16: “The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned.”

III. How can water do such great things?
Clearly the water does not do it, but the word of God, which is with and alongside the water, and faith, which trusts this word of God in the water. For without the word of God the water is plain water and not a baptism, but with the word of God it is a baptism, that is, a grace-filled water of life and a “bath of the new birth in the Holy Spirit,” as St. Paul says to Titus in chapter 3, “through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. This Spirit he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is sure.”

IV. What then is the significance of such a baptism with water?
It signifies that the old person in us with all sins and evil desires is to be drowned and die through daily sorrow for sin and through repentance, and on the other hand that daily a new person is to come forth and rise up to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

Where is this written?
St. Paul says in Romans 6, “We have been buried with Christ by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we to might walk in newness of life.”

BaptismBaptism



St. Stephen's Lutheran Church © 2011
5700 Pheasant Hill Rd., Monona, WI, 53716; Office@ststlc.net; 608-222-1241
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