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Baptism. What does this mean in practice?

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Baptism is the sign that someone belongs to Christ, which is why it is sometimes known as a christening.

In the Church of England a baptism shows that the child is a member of the Church family but if parents believe the child should make their own promise, they can have a 'Service of Thanksgiving'. Some denominations, eg Baptists, celebrate with a dedication service, not involving the baptism of the baby's head with water.

Adult commitment ceremonies
Some Churches do not baptise people until they are old enough to make the promise to follow Jesus Christ for themselves. This baptism can sometimes be referred to as a Believer's Baptism or baptism by immersion. The person is immersed in the water, as Jesus was by John the Baptist.

Jesus left Galilee and went to the Jordan River to be baptised by John … And as soon as he came out of the water, the sky opened, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down on him like a dove. Then a voice from heaven said, 'This is my own dear Son, and I am pleased with him'.
Matthew 3:13-17

In denominations that baptise babies, children may choose to be confirmed in their early teens. In a confirmation ceremony, the young person affirms for themselves the promises to follow Jesus that were made by their parents and godparents on their behalf at baptism.

In the Bible, Jesus' apostles laid their hands upon Christians' heads and prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit. Confirmation is a symbol of this in the Anglican and Catholic churches. During this ceremony the bishop lays his hands on the 'confirmation candidates'.

As soon as they heard this, they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them and they spoke in other tongues and prophesied.
Acts 19:5


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