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Baptism - Rite of initiation into the church – Bishop

Published:Saturday | January 16, 2016 | 12:00 AMShanique Samuels

"Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." Matthew 28:19

Based on the Bible's teachings, baptism in the Trinitarian format is the prescribed way for persons on a quest for salvation and who are desirous of being born again into the church.

Winston Thomas is the Rector of St Gabriel's Anglican Church in May Pen and Archdeacon of the Mandeville Region of the Anglican churches. He shared his thoughts on the topic.

"Baptism, we believe, is a sacrament through which you are born into the church. However, baptism is one half of the sacrament of initiation, the other half is confirmation. In baptism, you're born into the family, in confirmation you are sealed with the Spirit by the laying of hands. We also believe in infant baptism - because our Lord did not exclude infants from the covenant or from the family of God."

He explained that baptism is the right of initiation into the church and once you're in it you're in. "We don't believe in more than one baptism: if a person is baptised as an infant and for whatever reason might go astray from the church and then return, he/she comes back by what we call 'A Sacrament of Penance' - which is repentance and forgiveness. This is where the person repents saying they're sorry for their sins and God offers the forgiveness and together we call it 'penance'."

baptise traditionally

"We baptise traditionally in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit which is the Trinity. We believe that the Trinity embraces the Godhead, God as Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The father created, Son redeemed lost mankind, and as Holy Spirit, He sanctifies and keeps together those who confess that Jesus is Lord. So the Holy Spirit is God operating in our world today. God speaks through me by the power of the Holy Spirit" he told Family and Religion.

Thomas, who has been in ordained ministry for 45 years, however, stated that, "We don't frown on baptism in the name of Jesus Christ only, but neither do we subscribe to it because we believe that the Godhead in its fullness is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I and the Father are one and that has been the doctrine in the church ever since we have had the church since Pentecost."

He further explained that if a person who was once baptised in the name of Jesus Christ decides to become a member of the Anglican faith, it is preferred that they be baptised again in the Trinitarian format, because then you enfold the Godhead as the Godhead and not only a part of it.

He noted that God doesn't limit himself to human forms, but it is good that the church or we who believe in the church follows the traditions set out for us coming from the early church. "God embraces all who express belief in him. God calls us and we come to him through a process of repentance and then baptism" he said.

On the matter of immersion versus affusion: immersion is dipping the person into the water while affusion is sprinkling or pouring water on the person. "We believe that both are OK and we do practise both, but it's a matter of choice by the individual whether or not they choose to be completely immersed or have water poured on them, but once the element of water is used it is considered baptism.