Holy Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ’s Body, the Church. The bond which God establishes in Baptism is indissoluble. The Book of Common Prayer p. 298
There is one baptism and that is baptism into the Christian church, not into a specific denomination. No one is “baptized Episcopalian” but rather we are all “baptized Christian.” For this reason we do not “re-baptized” anyone but rather we confirm or receive those who have already been baptized. God never breaks promises, so there is no need to baptize again.
In Holy Baptism God adopts us as his own children, and the church community into which we are baptized receives us as a member of the family. Baptism is the only requirement for full membership in the Body of Christ. Baptism is also the only requirement for admission to Holy Communion in many Episcopal parishes. At All Saints all who seek the love of Jesus Christ are invited to receive Communion, whether they are baptized or not. But after receiving a few times, those who are not yet baptized are expected to discuss preparation for their baptism with the rector.
The Sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion, also called Holy Eucharist, are linked. The one-time blessing and promises of Baptism are continued on each day of remembrance of Easter, which is to say each Sunday, through the observance of Holy Eucharist.
Holy Baptism is celebrated as part of a Sunday morning Eucharist, when the parish community is present. It is an important part of the liturgy for the congregation to receive the newly baptized person into fellowship and faith with them, and it is an opportunity for all present to renew their baptismal vows.
There are 5 occasions in the church year when baptism is particularly appropriate. They are: at the Easter Vigil, on the Day of Pentecost, on All Saints’ Day or the Sunday after All Saints’ Day, and on the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord, which is the first Sunday after the Epiphany. The fifth opportunity is any Sunday when the bishop is present. As far as possible, baptisms are celebrated on these days.
Preparation with the rector is required for an adult desiring baptism.
The parents of an infant or young child should choose at least one godparent who are themselves baptized. Godparents make the baptismal promises in behalf of the child along with the parents and are expected to assist in setting positive examples in an effort to bring the child up “into the full stature of Christ.” A meeting and discussion on the meaning of Baptism will be held with the parents, the godparents and the rector some time before the day of the Baptism.
The Book of Common Prayer provides a form for Conditional Baptism when a person does not have a record of his/her baptism and is not sure that it took place in infancy. In that case the form used is “If you have not already been baptized, I baptize you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.