By Lisa McNamara, Director of Children's Ministries
Being the Director of Children’s Ministries, I have always worked closely with the Baptism Guild. They are a well-organized team that takes care of all the little details prior to and on the day of baptisms. Not to mention they are delightful and really fun to be around.
During the pandemic and social distancing for the common good, we started to hold individual services. We had over sixty services during the past year and now have returned to baptisms on Sunday mornings. It has been a lot of work! And I LOVED every minute of it.
The first thing we do when someone submits a form is to reach out to them to confirm details and dates. It is so fun communicating with the families. Hearing their stories and how excited they are for their little saints to join the Cathedral. It is such a ray of light.
Once we have a date, it’s time to prepare for the big day. We have a wonderful Cathedral member, Mary Inman, who prepares certificates with her beautiful calligraphy. The Baptism Guild takes care of the godparent certificates, and I really enjoy reading the prayers for each candidate while I fill them out. It slows me down, helps me to get ready, and really appreciate the sacrament of baptism – something I hadn’t done before.
We host a workshop, usually on the day prior to the baptism. At the workshop, clergy, staff, and Baptism Guild members gather with families and godparents to share our hopes for the candidate and talk about the liturgy and sacrament that will take place. It’s a festive occasion, and an important one, as it’s the entry point for many into the Church family.
On the day of baptism (my favorite part), the Baptism Guild prepares the altar and the elements for the service. Preparing the water and the chrism (and other behind-the-scene tasks) allows us to connect with what is about to happen. We get to be part of church in a new way, and it is amazing. Once the family arrives, we are the first people to greet them and share their joy and excitement. There is a lot of anticipation about how the child will behave: will they remember where to go, and what to say? It’s up to us to be the calm, smiling presence that says, “It’s going to be perfect, we are here for you, we love babies that make noise, and God loves you.” And the best is when the parents give a sigh of relief, because they know it’s true.
I invite anyone who needs a little light in their life to join the Baptism Guild. Just email Lisa McNamara, lmcnamara@cathedralATL.org.