The following is from the sixteenth installment of my bulletin insert series at Centenary United Methodist Church. It is for The Baptism of the Lord Sunday:
The Baptismal Font - In the rites of Baptism we declare, “Through the Sacrament of Baptism we are initiated into Christ’s holy Church. We are incorporated into God’s mighty acts of salvation and given new birth through water and the Spirit.” Baptism is, first, God’s sign of our forgiveness, cleansing and adoption by grace. It is, secondly, our word of faith and commitment to God.
As we, in faith, come to the waters of Baptism, God is there and then at work, pouring out grace to us and marking us with the sign of the Covenant as God’s own children by grace.
As those within the Wesleyan/Methodist tradition, though we only have a Baptismal Font, we do accept as valid all three modes used by Christians in baptism. Candidates or their parents may choose sprinkling, pouring, or immersion.
By placing the Font near the entrance to the place of worship, or, in our case (having two entrances), at the back of the center aisle, we symbolize that it is through the waters of baptism that we enter into the Church and become members of the Body of Christ. As we gather to worship, the Font is a witness of God’s grace poured out to us. As we depart to serve, the Font calls us to live out our baptismal faith in the world, to allow the grace of our baptism to “work its way out” in us and to shape us. In both instances, we are reminded that we are not our own. We belong to God.
Having a movable Font, also, allows us to accommodate the worshipping congregation when celebrating baptisms by moving the Font to the front of our worship space making the sacrament more fully visible for all.
Information gathered from the following resources:
The United Methodist Book of Worship
White, James F. and Susan J. Church Architecture: Building and Renovating for Christian Worshp. OSL Publication. Akron, Ohio. 1998.