Progressive Baptism Liturgy (for a child) — Jim Burklo, USA

We are here to praise God for the life of /Name/, our young friend, who in such a short time has brought us so much joy. Through /Name/ we have experienced birth again in a new and more conscious way; in him, God has created the world again, opening us to wonder and possibility that we had forgotten. We live not for ourselves alone, but toward God and for each other. Our lives are bound in a covenant of love with /Name/.

We baptise /Name/ with our desire to show her/him a way of life that naturally displays love, respect, and justice. We baptise her/him with our intention to witness the unfolding of God’s creation as s/he grows and changes. We baptise her/him with our desire to be in God’s presence as we are in her/his presence. We baptise /Name/ with our desire to see her/him grow in spiritual maturity, in wisdom, and in soulful service to others, following in the spiritual footsteps of all the great mystics and spiritual teachers of the world.

Each of us here has a unique role in raising this beautiful child. Do you, her/his parents, commit yourselves to raising her/him in a manner that inspires faithfulness, compassion, and spiritual growth? If so, say, We do.

And do we, the family and friends of /Name/, commit ourselves to being a faithful community that will guide and support her/him through life? If so, let us say, We do.

Let us primg_2225ayerfully focus on this water, as I pour it into the bowl, and as we do, let each of us infuse it with our commitments to share with /Name/ the unique gifts that God has given us, gifts s/he will need from us as s/he goes along life’s way.

Each person touches the water as it is passed around the circle, and can say a few words of blessing if they choose.

To paraphrase the scripture: The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the most high will overshadow you; therefore this child shall be called holy, a child of God. Let us repeat her/his name together:

All gathered recite the child’s full name while the mark of the cross is made on their forehead with water)

/Name/, with this water we baptise you with the love that is God, known to us among other names as the [Father, Mother, Son, the Holy Spirit, and Wisdom.] /Include names for God with which you and the family are familiar and comfortable./

Hold child before the gathered people, saying: “I present to you /Name/, God’s gift to her/his parents, to her/his family, and to the world!  Amen!”

Jim Burklo, Associate Dean of Religious Life at the University of Southern California, served as the minister of Sausalito Presbyterian Church, Sausalito, California USA, of College Heights Church of San Mateo, CA and was campus minister of United Campus Christian Ministry at Stanford University. He served as Executive Director of the Urban Ministry of Palo Alto (now part of InnVision Shelter Network) Books by Jim Burklo