About Us


Free Mailings






Various Ceremonies - Pagan and Other

By Harry Carlson, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, February, 2009  

I wrote this for the baptism of a young boy, about 4 years old.  He is the son of a couple I married 5 years ago.  The family does not believe in traditional Christian dogma, and neither do I, but they want Reagan, the boy, to be baptized, out of respect for their traditionally religious grandparents and family members.  I told them I love the idea of baptism but I have a different belief in its meaning than the traditional Christian interpretation.  This is it.  We plan to do the baptism ceremony in the Spring.

The ceremony is based on the traditional Christian ceremony but is compatible with my own beliefs.  I felt a need to give my explanation of the word, “God.”  I don’t believe in the term, “original sin” but I do believe in letting children know they are not guilty for the sins committed by our ancestors.  The “triune god” isn’t in here but I didn’t feel a baptism is complete without a reference to Jesus.  The wording is simple so Reagan will have an idea of what it means.  Feel free to use any of this you find helpful.

Reagan (about 4 years old), Jason (father), Allison (Mother), X (Name of Godfather), y (Name of Godmother), and friends and family,
We are going to do a ceremony today called “baptism” and Reagan, this is for you.  This is your baptism ceremony.

We are going to take some water and I’m going to put some of it on your head.  We aren’t going to use a lot of water today.  And, no soap.  But I’ll use enough water so that you can feel it, so you get wet a little bit, so you know it’s water!   

Now you may wonder if the water is special.  The answer is, I am going to use ordinary water and then I am going to say a prayer for the water that we all can hear, and that is what makes it special.  If you visit a church and they have what they call “Holy Water,” it is ordinary water that has been blessed or prayed over.  That’s the thing that makes it “Holy.”
Baptism Ceremony by Harry Carlson February 2009 Page 2 of 3.  

People who were born before us, our ancestors, have been baptizing children for many generations.  In the Bible, it is said that when Jesus saw a man named John baptizing people in a river, Jesus asked John to baptize him, and John did.  Jesus asked his followers to baptize one another.  So Christians have been baptizing themselves and their children ever since.  And that was over 2,000 years ago.

Some people get baptized by getting dunked in a river or a lake.  In some churches, called Baptist churches, there is a big bathtub, like a little swimming pool, that people get completely into to get baptized.  In some churches there is a sort of a big sink to do the baptizing.  But it doesn’t matter to us whether it is in water in a big ocean or a river or a church or few splashes of water here in your family room.  What matters is, that we, the older generation of humans, are doing this for you, a member of the newest generation of humans.
Now baptism means different things in different religions.  I am going to tell you what it means to me.  As you grow up, you are allowed to decide what it means to you.
Baptism, in my opinion, is saying to you, “Welcome to the World!  We care about you.  Your life is important.  The World is a better place because you are here in it!  Have a great life!  Do something good with your life!  You have a chance to make something of yourself.  Wherever you go for the rest of your life, you will always go with the hopes and blessings and best wishes of the people who love you, always.”

“Your life is important.  You are a new, young person and being washed off reminds us, and you, that you are going out into the world with a fresh start.  The water means to us that you are clean.  We, and all of the people who ever lived before us, may not have always done everything the way we should have, but that doesn’t put any blame on you.  Your life is like a fresh, clean sheet of paper, ready for you to write on, in any way you wish.”  

Now before I go any further, let me tell you my own idea about the word, “God.”  A lot of people tell you that they believe in God.  Now I have to tell you that I don’t know what God is.  I don’t know if God is a person or a thing.  I don’t know if God is a he or a she or an “it.”  Lots of people have their own ideas about what or who God is, and they may be right or they may not be.  Let me tell you right now, I think that your idea about what or who God is as good an idea as anyone else’s, mine, or your parents, or a preacher, or the Pope, or any holyman in the world.  But whatever or whoever God is, I do believe that God does live within us all, always.  God, in my opinion, lives within every Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, agnostic, or atheist, always.  
Baptism Ceremony by Harry Carlson February 2009 Page 3 of 3.  

In addition to your parents here today, they have asked x and y to become your Godparents.  This is quite an honor.  Always remember who your Godparents are.  Your Godparents are going to promise us to always keep a watch out for you and your family, and if they ever see that you are not doing the right thing, they are supposed to come to your side and remind you and your family that you must do the right thing.  X and Y, do you agree to become Godparents to Reagan, and if you ever see him going astray, do you promise to remind him, and his family, to do the right thing?  If so, please say, “Yes, we do.”  (Allow them to respond.)

So now, I am going to say a prayer.  And when I say I am praying to God, what I mean is, that I am praying to the God that lives within all of us.  That’s why I like all of us to be able to hear the prayer, so it goes inside to the part of us where I believe God lives.  I believe in prayer, even if I don’t know exactly who or what God is.  I do know that prayer helps me.  Whenever I hear a prayer, it makes me feel better, immediately.  I think prayer helps make us better people.  It helps the God within us all help us do the right thing.

Here is my prayer for us today:   
Dear God of the Universe, that lives within us all, please bless everything we do here today.  Bless this water that I am about to put on Reagan’s head, so that Reagan and his parents and his Godparents and all of us here today will remember this day and always be reminded that Reagan is a welcome member of the human family, that Reagan, like all of us, began life with a clean start, free from any blame for anything that happened in the past.  Make Reagan always remember that he is important; that he, like all children, is, and should be, the pride of our families and a constant source of joy and celebration for us all.  Make us always remember that we must always do the right thing, as God gives us the ability to know the right.  Amen.   

Are you ready, Reagan?  OK, hold your head over the bowl because I’m going to put some water on you.   

Reagan Stephenson, in the name of God who lives within us all, and in behalf Jesus, a man I trust, who asked us to do this, and in behalf of the family of all human beings who have ever lived, I baptize you.  May you always know that you are loved, that you are important to all of us, that you have a clean life before you, and that you must always do the right thing, as God give you the ability to know the right.   



Real Time Web Analytics Review http://www.ulcseminary.org on alexa.com