Holy Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body the Church. The Episcopal Church recognizes all baptized with water and in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as members of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
In the waters of baptism, we are lovingly adopted by God into God’s family, which we call the Church, and given God’s own life to share and reminded that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ. Holy Baptism, which can be performed through pouring of water or immersion in it, marks a formal entrance to the congregation and wider Church; the candidates for the sacrament make a series of vows, including an affirmation of the Baptismal Covenant (Book of Common Prayer, p. 304), and are baptized in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They are marked as Christ’s own forever, having “clothed [themselves] with Christ” (Galatians 3:27). All people of any age are welcome to be baptized; we believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins, as the “bond which God establishes in Baptism is indissoluble” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 298).
Reception and Confirmation
It is expected that all adult members of The Episcopal Church will be confirmed or received at some point. Confirmation is the sacramental rite in which the candidates “express a mature commitment to Christ, and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop” (BCP, p. 860). Those who were baptized at an early age and those baptized as adults without laying on of hands by a bishop are expected to make a mature public affirmation of their faith, recommit themselves to the responsibilities of their baptism, and receive laying on of hands by a bishop (BCP, p. 412). Adults baptized with the laying on of hands by a bishop are considered to be confirmed.