Baptism

Jessica, Caitlin and Ross GjerdeThe sacrament of baptism is an outward and visible sign of the grace of God.  Through baptism a person is joined with the universal church, the body of Christ.  In baptism, God works in us the renewal of the spirit and the knowledge of the call to be God’s people always.

Water is an essential element of baptism.  Water is a prominent symbol of cleansing and life in the Bible- the water of creation, the liberation of Israel through the sea, the water of Mary’s womb, the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, the woman at the well, and Jesus’ washing of the feet of the disciples.  Infants, children, youth, and adults are all offered baptism at Pilgrim.  For infants and children, as well as for youth and adults who have never been baptized before, baptism marks their acceptance into the care of the church, the sign and seal of God’s grace, and the beginning of their Christian faith and life.

Baptism is a personal celebration in the lives of the individual candidates and their families.  It is also a celebration within the local church family and a recognition of its commitment.  For this reason, baptism is celebrated in the presence of the community gathered for worship.

 

Confirmation

Milou, Kyle, Galen and GloverA person is joined into the universal church, the body of Christ, through the Sacrament of Baptism.  Confirmation is the affirmation of baptism and follows baptism.  It is a rite of the church which happens during public worship.  In the service of confirmation, confirmands say “yes” to their baptism and the church says “yes” to their growing faith.

The word “confirmare” originated in the fifth century and means “to strengthen” or to “make firm.”  Rev. Wagner offers a series of classes for Pilgrim’s young people to foster deeper faith formation prior to confirmation. These classes are offered each fall for those who wish to prepare for membership.  Classes consist of an understanding of the democratic structure of Pilgrim, a focus on the history of the UCC, an understanding of the sacraments, and a study of selected Bible stories. The rite of confirmation marks the beginning of a young person’s active membership in the life and mission of the church.