Robin McGonigle & Paul Ellis Jackson
University Congregational Church
April 2, 2017
“Journey to the Jordan: Remembering Your Baptism”
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” Matt. 3:13-17
Intro: Last week, I shared with you some baptismal stories from my ministry. Most were baptisms I was blessed to officiate. There were babies, children, teens, adults, and elderly. The water was sprinkled, poured and some people were immersed.
Today, Paul and I want to share with you some of the stories of our own people at UCC. And we would love to hear your feedback as we go along. Our mobile numbers are listed in the bulletin, along with the topical outline. If you have questions or comments about baptism, please text them to one of us and we will try to respond!
We start with a story of belonging by Jon Romain about his infant baptism.
So here’s my story about baptism. I don’t remember being baptized as I was a baby? I do know that my mother was active in a Congregational church growing up and made my brothers and I attend church, every Sunday til we left for college. So church was part of my life. My mother celebrated religious days such as Christmas, Easter and Lent. We lit candles at home for Lent. So part of being in my family was believing in God, saying our prayers and going to church. Knowing that I was baptized made me feel a part of my family and part of a church family after I saw babies being baptized and heard church members respond that they would help the child as the parents promised to raise him or her according to the teachings of Jesus. I remember enjoying seeing children go through the ceremony. – Jon Romain
This is a significant part of what it means to be a part of a church. When you feel like you belong, you become invested in the church community.
Questions/ comments via text.
I was baptized as an infant and my parents referred to it as christening with godparents included so I just remember the fact of that. I’m always touched by that scene of family and chosen backup family gathered solemnly to honor the tiny baby in their midst. The long white christening gown, the repetition of commitment to the child’s future, the minister taking the child in hand and anointing it’s head–all of these remind me each time of the miracle that children are in our lives, our world. But the part that always brings tears to my eyes is the congregation collectively agreeing to raise and care for the child because that’s our most solemn connection to the future: our community our generation pledging fealty to the next. Especially in today’s world that is sobering yet thrilling. Then having the minister hold up that child and walk down the aisle to “introduce” is to our charge—goose bumps moment. Sacred in the true sense of life involvement. – Leigh Aaron-Leary
Comments & texts about community
I was baptized in the First Baptist church located at Second and Broadway here in Wichita. The baptistery was a beautiful marble setting of a river scene that one walked across in. At that time most baptisms of children, of which I was one, were during the Lenten season.
As an aside, the minister who baptized me was a substitute minister who had a daughter who was an algebra teacher at Wichita East High School and I had her for a teacher when I became of that age. We became good friends.
First Baptist Church tore down their beautiful limestone structure and replaced it with the existing red brick structure. The marble from the original baptistery in which was baptized was salvaged and cut into small blocks. The blocks were polished and given as keepsakes to people who were baptized in the original baptistery. I still use my keepsake in my office as a paper weight. – anonymous
Texts and comments about methods.
God’s action in baptism
My baptism took place at Grace Presbyterian Church here in Wichita, and I remember the event vividly. I was about 5 or 6 years old and I had been well-schooled by my mother on the meaning of baptism, what would occur during the event, and most particularly, how I should behave during the baptism.
I was keenly aware of how special that Sunday morning was, not only for me but also for my parents. You see, Mother dressed me in the best dress that had belonged to my older sister Phyllis. Phyllis had died from a ruptured appendix when she was 7 years old; I was about 2 or 3 when she died. My baptism Sunday was the only day I was allowed to wear that special dress.
At the appropriate time during the Sunday morning service, the minister called me and my parents forward. I felt so grown-up walking to the front of the church, standing before the minister and congregation, and being in the presence of God. As the words were spoken, I was sprinkled with water from the font. At the conclusion of the baptism, the minister handed me a long-stemmed red rose. I still have the rose: pressed between pages of my baby book. – Kay Rupert Sommerfeld
Texts and comments about God’s action in baptism.
Rite of passage
My baptism at age 10 was a wonderful, exciting event for my family and me. I was raised in the Disciples of Christ church here In Wichita-where communion was observed every Sunday so I had plenty of years to observe this tradition as well as to learn more specifically about it during the 4 month (1X a week) class leading up to Palm Sunday when I was baptized by immersion. This enabled me to partake of communion on Easter Sunday which was a thrill. At that time, at that church, you were not invited to take communion unless you had been baptized-by either sprinkling or immersion. Our confirmation also took place on Palm Sunday with the Minister asking “Janice Sue Shoff -do you believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and do you except him as your personal Savior?” Answering “yes” I was then blessed by the Minister & welcomed into the membership of the church-mentioning also when my baptism would take place.
Usually a number of young people chose this time of year to take the confirmation classes, make their confession & be baptized- so it was even more exciting & meaningful experiencing this with friends your age. My family was very proud of my decision to do this and hosted a special dinner after church after I was baptized. I will never forget this occasion in my life & will remember what it meant to me forever . – Jan Deering