Baptism is an essential sign of the Christian faith by which people express their commitment to a life long relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ.
Christians make this commitment to Jesus, as he is the one who has given his life to save us from our broken relationship with God. Jesus lived his life fully trusting God and then freely gave up his life in an agonising, tortuous death to pay the price of our sin. He did this in the confidence that God would accept his sacrifice for us and finally defeat death by raising him to life again. On Easter day Christians celebrate that through his absolute trust in God the power of death was broken and so Jesus was seen and experienced alive.
Baptism expresses the washing away of an old way of life and the beginning of a new way of life that is committed to living by faith in Jesus. Such a life is characterised by prayer, reading and studying the Bible, along with active involvement in a local faith community.
In the Anglican Church we baptise the children of parents who have themselves made a commitment to follow Jesus. For these children, baptism is a prayer to God that he will complete the work of salvation in this child as his/her parents teach them how to pray, to read the Bible regularly and bring them along with them to church each week until a time when they can make their own response to God. Confirmation is the name given to the ritual when those who were baptised as children make their own response to God.