Alicen, the newborn daughter of Mike and Meika, was baptized on Easter Sunday. Alicen was very cooperative even when the pastor realized that he hadn’t poured water in the baptismal font. It is always fun when a baby is brought for baptism. The kids are invited to the front of church so they can see the baptism up close. Alicen’s sisters were standing there with their parents. Her three-year-old sister Maryam even accompanied the pastor up and down the aisle of the church as the pastor showed the congregation one of our newest members.
One of the things I like about baptisms (and there are lots of things I like) is that, in addition to the parents making a vow, the congregation does too. We hear the congregation say that they will love and support this new child and will help her parents and play a special role in her instruction in the faith.
There are lots of ways that we, as a congregation, fulfill this vow but Sunday School is certainly one of them. Sometimes it can seem hard to get people to volunteer for Sunday School because it isn’t a new program – it’s been around longer than most of us! In our culture we sometimes have a short attention span and are frequently looking for something new and exciting. And, while Sunday School is sometimes exciting, it certainly isn’t new.
That’s why I like hearing our congregation say those vows in baptism – that reminds me that we, as a church, take faith formation seriously. The adults in my church take that vow seriously too – we have had a full slate of teachers for Sunday School for many years now and this year we’ve already had people ask if they can continue teaching next year.
Sunday School is, in many ways, a cornerstone of our church’s response to these baptismal vows. I’m thrilled that I get to be part of that in my church. It’s hard to imagine a more important role.
How have you connected Sunday School to the baptism vows in your church?