Baptism: How we "practice the waters" at Christ Church

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, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’
— Matthew 28: 19, 20 (NRSV)
He Qi, Baptism of Jesus

He Qi, Baptism of Jesus

We practice two sacraments at Christ Church: Portland - baptism & communion. But in many ways, so much more of our life is sacramental, including how we “live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28) through ways we relate to one another, make commitments in our lives and practice empathy and confession.

Every week we celebrate Communion - a thanksgiving meal (also known as the Eucharist or the Lord's Supper) remembering and rooting us in the way of Jesus.

Currently, we celebrate Baptism every quarter - and we affirm and include both kinds of baptism, infant and believer baptism.

Rachel Held Evans writes:

[W]hile disagreements regarding the method of baptism abound… I don’t think it matters much. Believer’s baptism strikes me as something of a misnomer anyway, suggesting far more volition in this circumstance than most of us have. Whether you meet the water as a baby squirming in the arms of a nervous priest, or as an adult plunged into a river by a revivalist preacher, you do it at the hands of those who first welcome you to faith, the people who have— or will— introduce you to Jesus. “In baptism,” writes Will Willimon, “the recipient of baptism is just that— recipient. You cannot very well do your own baptism. It is done to you, for you.” It’s an adoption, not an interview.

Rob Bell & Don Golden, in their book "Jesus Came to Save Christians," reflect on the sign and symbolism that baptism makes - a new exodus. Looking at how radical a moment it was when Philip baptizes the Ethiopian eunuch on the roadside outside of Jerusalem in Acts, they write it's all about a bigger, more inclusive story:

It’s the story of a thousand little everyday decisions these first Christians made to free the message from its cultural and religious trappings so that it would truly be good news for all who encountered it.

Baptism is about belonging, living faithful practice & solidarity. 

The church has often divided over these matters but we think this is something we can transcend and include, together. For more on how we think and do baptism, read here.