The service is a significant departure from traditional Christian practice. Holy Cross’ priest, Rev. Carol Carlson, explains, “Adult baptism, which in our case is ‘sprinkling’ with water rather than total immersion, usually takes place after a person has been instructed in the basics of Christian faith and promised to be a faithful member of a church community. In ‘open’ baptism, we invite people in without asking anything of them except the desire to receive this rite, and provide opportunity for them after the fact to learn and grow as a Christian. For some years Holy Cross has felt a call to offer this to our town, and in this Easter season we have been able to plan for it, and its follow-up, in ways we think will work for us and for all those who participate.”
Anyone who has not previously received Christian baptism and wishes to do so is invited to call the church, 51 W. Main Street, at 725-4679 and leave contact information. If anyone is unable to do this, they may just attend the service and make their request at that time.
“Advance information will be helpful to us, so we know how many to plan for in the celebration,” said Carlson, “But when we say, ‘open,’ that’s exactly what we mean.”
The celebration will take place on the day of Pentecost, 50 days after Easter, when the church commemorates Jesus’s disciples’ experience of being empowered by God’s Holy Spirit.
Carlson says that this is an appropriate day for a rite that proposes to “open a door” for the Spirit to work. “Baptism has two parts,” said Carlson. “First is God’s kindness reaching out to invite us into a community of faith; second is our response to that reaching out. Traditions like ours emphasize the first part of this transaction, so we baptize infants and others unable to speak for themselves, and then later provide a way to confirm the promises made. Some of our neighbors emphasize the second part, and so baptize only those who can make a ‘confession’ of faith at the time. In both cases it’s the two-way movement of gracious invitation and grateful acceptance that matters, and in this special case we’re getting down to the absolute basics and leaving almost everything to the Spirit, just offering an open door.”
Reception following the service in the parish hall. All are welcome.