Baptism is a visible sign of an invisible event: the presence and acceptance of God in our lives. A service of baptism is part of a Sunday morning worship service. While there is no membership requirement to be baptized at Countryside, those who are baptized (or their family, in the case of infants) must be participating actively in the life of the congregation. This is due to the vows we all make, described below.
Baptism Sundays and classes are scheduled as follows:
Baptism Classes 2016: TBA
Baptism Sundays 2016: TBA
To schedule a baptism, contact the church office at 402-391-0350.
Why we ask you to participate in our congregational life to be baptized (or to baptize your child):
Part of Countryside’s ongoing commitment to children and youth is reflected in the vows we make six times a year to the children and families we baptize. The parents make a vow to raise their children in an awareness of God’s presence, and to dedicate and devote themselves to making their children aware of God’s love and caring and destiny. The congregation then vows to “support you and to work with you in watching over your child and in caring for their spiritual interests. We will also work and pray for your child’s ongoing spiritual awakening and growth, that they may continually experience the inward grace of the baptism they have received this day.” In other words, we vow to nurture a relationship not simply between ourselves and our children, but between our children and God.
While it is common these days for people to make vows they never intend to keep, the church takes their baptismal vows seriously, and it expects the families to take their vow with equal seriousness, in part through regular participation in the life of the congregation. This is one reason why Countryside’s children and youth programs are so strong. We don’t give these vows lip service. They are neither ornamental nor sentimental, but real commitments that are reflected in everything from our programming, to our staffing, to our budgeting. This commitment has only grown, not shrunk, in recent years. In fact, on baptism Sunday, the parents are asked publicly to hold Countryside accountable should we ever fail to fulfill our vow to help foster a relationship between their children and God until the day their children come of age and can make their own decisions about this relationship.
It is out of this authentic and vibrant commitment between the congregation and the parents of children who are baptized here that Countryside’s policy is to baptize only children whose families are actively involved in the life the church, whether members or not. After all, there is literally no way for the congregation to fulfill their vows if the child or family is not participating in the life of the congregation. We don’t ask you to be members. We don’t ask you to be married. We certainly don’t ask you to be perfect. And being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender is fine with us, too. (We are an “Open and Affirming” congregation). We just ask you to help us make our vows real by being an active part of our community.
Some folks who have been members of Countryside in former years and moved away express disappointment when they hear that they must be active in the current life of the congregation to have their children baptized. Sometimes, too, grandparents wish their grandchildren to be baptized at Countryside when their children visit Omaha. In these cases, we are pleased to offer a special ceremony of blessing in our Chapel. These formal ceremonies celebrate the life of the child as a child of God, and the new relationship that exists between the child, the parents, and God. A prayer of blessing is offered for the child and family. Since this is not a baptism, and no baptismal vows are being made, there is NO requirement that the family participate in the life of the church. Countryside offers this service as an expression of our joy and thanksgiving for the connection we have shared through past membership or present family relations, and the ongoing relationship we share spiritually in Christ.