Through the sacrament of baptism, we are joined with the Church and with Christians everywhere. It is a symbol of new life and a sign of God’s love and forgiveness. As such, we believe that persons of any age can be baptized.
This leads us to a common question we get: “Why do we baptize infants?” What we see in the baptism of a child is the message that even in those times and places where we will not, do not, or cannot respond to God; God's grace is still being poured down into our lives; that even in that place before we come to own our faith, God is still calling us home, that God is still sending forth love and power into our lives. The use of water, in itself, reminds us that we are covered by God’s grace and that God invites us to be refreshed in his Spirit.
The sacrament of infant baptism does not mean to suggest that the child is “saved” by baptism but, instead, that God is already at work in him/her, that God’s grace is already being poured into that young life; that the child is already precious in the eyes of the Almighty.
Therefore, our response to these baptisms, our covenant that we will lead lives that help the children of our community to make their own decision to accept Jesus as their Savior, is of the utmost importance; for in so doing, we literally become the hands and feet of Christ, showing the sacramental grace of God that claims us even from our first breath.
We of course celebrate baptisms for professions of faith as well; but we hold that persons should be baptized only once in his or her life. We do, however, celebrate Remembrances of Baptism.
We baptize by sprinkling, immersion, or pouring.
Although confirmation is not a sacrament in the United Methodist Church, it is an important marker along our spiritual journeys.
At Baptism, we are initiated into the new covenant in Jesus Christ and membership in the Church, Christ’s body in the world. For many, this happens when they are very young and unable to speak or understand the vows for themselves. Just as children are members of their human families, with little expectation to perform household chores until they are capable, baptized infants are members of the church, but not yet capable of sharing and understanding everything involved with church membership.
Confirmation is an opportunity to respond to the grace of God available to us, as acknowledged in baptism, and for the individual to promise to live their life as a person of faith. Here at First UMC we offer classes for youth in grades 8 or higher who wish to affirm the vows from their baptism and begin a more serious look at their faith journey. Through bi-weekly classes, worship, extra outside activities, and missions we help our youth begin the process of full membership into the church and helping them grow in their faith.