Within the church, our ritual of membership is called baptism, a symbolic washing that Jesus also participated in as he began his public ministry. Within The United Church of Canada, baptism may take place when we are an infant, child, or adult.
As infants or children, a profession of faith in God expressed in the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, along with other promises are made by our parents or guardians committing us to the mission and ministry of the Church, to following in the Way of Jesus Christ, and seeking justice and resisting evil in our lives.
When we become old enough to make these decisions for ourselves, we can choose to "confirm" those promises that were made at our baptism. This ritual is called confirmation, where we join the church as full members by making a profession of faith. Both confirmation and adult baptism engages in a period of preparation and education before receiving their full membership.
Because baptism is a serious commitment of membership to the church, and a requirement for those who serve on Church Council, infant and child baptism is typically only available to parents or guardians who have been baptised themselves and participate in the life of the congregation.
Some parents or guardians may wish to reserve this decision on membership through baptism for their child until they reach adulthood, in these cases their child may instead receive a dedication and naming ceremony, where they receive a blessing and anointing with oil.
Everyone is welcome to freely participate in the life of Southminster, and may reserve the decision on membership until they feel ready for that commitment.