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Bishop’s Note – 2019 BCP – Holy Baptism - Opening Acclimation

I pray that this week’s Bishop’s Note finds you all well blessed from Thanksgiving and fully immersed in the season of Advent.
Today we continue with our examination of the 2019 Book of Common Prayer and our look at the service of Holy Baptism.
In my last Bishop’s Note we examined the notes in the prayer book concerning baptism. Today, we look at the opening rubrics and the Opening Acclimation.
The opening rubrics at the top of the page state:
Baptism should be administered as part of the Holy Eucharist on a Sunday or other Holy Day. The most appropriate days for Baptism are the Easter Vigil, the Baptism of Our Lord, Pentecost, and All Saints’ Day (or the Sunday after All Saints’ Day). The Bishop is the appropriate Celebrant, if present. (BCP pg. 161)
Baptism is a communal event, not a private event, and therefore should be done in the midst of the church’s primary worship on a Sunday. The most appropriate days for Baptisms are:

  • The Easter Vigil when in the first centuries Christians who had fasted and prayed for Lent were baptized
  • The Baptism of our Lord in the first week of January for the obvious reasons
  • Pentecost with the celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit and the Birth of the Church
  • All Saints’ Day, or the Sunday to which it is transferred as we remember all the saints and martyrs of the church

The only time of the year that is not appropriate for baptism is the Season of Lent in that it is a penitential season and a time of preparation. Of course, in the case of an emergency (such as impending death,) Baptism may be done at any time or place and may be administered by any baptized believer if a Bishop, Priest, or Deacon is unavailable.

The Opening Acclimation:
                         Blessed be God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
People:           And blessed be his Kingdom, now and forever.

The Celebrant then continues:
                          There is one Body and one Spirit;
People:             There is one hope in God’s call to us;
Celebrant:        One Lord, one Faith, on Baptism;
People:             One God and Father of all.  
(BCP pg. 161)

The Opening Acclimation in the name of the Trinity, which fits in every liturgical season (see pages 145-156 of the BCP,) is the appropriate opening for all services of Holy Eucharist.  However, the Celebrant continues with a proclamation of the uniqueness of Christ and His Church – where we have one hope, one faith, one baptism and one God and Father of us all. Therefore, in baptism we are made Christians, not simply Anglicans.
I hope you all have a blessed Advent as you prepare for the coming of our Lord!

San Joaquin Anglican
December 8
Bishop @ Saint Peter's

December 15
Bishop @ Saint Michael's Church Plant

December 22
Bishop @ Epiphany

December 24-26
Office Closed for Christmas

December 31 - January 1
Office Closed for Feast of the Holy Name

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Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin · 1300 East Shaw Avenue #123 · Fresno, CA 93710 · USA

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