Baptisms Virtual and Otherwise

05.01.20 | Homepage | by Kimberly Durnan

    Despite this season of self-distancing babies still need baptizing. Resurrection in Plano, and Holy Cross in Paris found a way to make this particular sacrament happen.

    The Rev. Leslie Stewart, Resurrection, received permission from Bishop George Sumner for a couple to perform an emergency baptism in their home of their baby born in January. In a sanitized way, Stewart provided the family with a baptism kit to take home that included water that had been blessed, a baptismal shell and oil of chrism.  Later, during a Zoom meeting the baby was baptized. “I said all the same words, we did all the same things,” Stewart said. ’In the name of the father’:  the baby’s father also said the words as he poured the water. ‘In the name of son:’ the baby’s brother also said the words as he poured the water.  ‘In the name of the Holy Spirit:’ the baby’s mother repeated the words as she poured the water. Technology augmented the sacramental act, performed in the traditional way.  More than 50 people attended the baptism virtually, and Stewart kept the Zoom meeting open for about 45 minutes afterward so people could visit with each other like they would in a traditional baptism. Check out the video here.

    The Rev. Craig Reed performed the baptism at Holy Cross in person, with only a few present, but they managed the ceremony in a way that allowed six feet of separation. Reed said he had told the family it would be best to wait until the church could be together. However, there were mitigating circumstances that brought a sense of urgency to the family who wanted to baptize the 2-year-old boy. “We consecrated the water for baptism, used the aspergillum and threw the water about six feet away and sprinkled him,” Reed said. The family was happy to have the baptism take place, he added.

    Reed said they did the best they could considering the current global situation. “It was in the liturgical boundaries, coronavirus boundaries and it was the pastoral thing to do,” he said. “It was very unique. I saw the Facebook memes of baptisms using the Super-soaker water guns, it was tempting but we were more dignified.”