Activity 3 – What is Christian Baptism?

In this activity pupils will investigate Baptism and compare and contrast Baptism rituals in the UK and Mozambique. They  will consider what difference baptism and belief in Jesus as ‘water of life’ makes individually, locally and globally, using video clips and photographs from UK and Mozambique.

Consideration will be given as to how Baptism with water and the Holy Spirit helps Christian believers follow Jesus commandment to Love their neighbours, in ways that make a difference to people’s lives.

Key Questions

What is Baptism?

Why is it called a sacrament?

What difference does being baptised make to a Christian believer?

Learning Objectives

  • To understand what Baptism is and why it is called  sacrament?
  • What does baptism mean to a Christian?
  • How are Christian believers baptised in the UK and Mozambique ?
  • To understand the difference Baptism makes in  a believers life UK and Mozambique

Starter  

  • What clubs or activity groups do we belong to?
  • Are there special rituals or activities that individuals have to take part in when they join?  e.g. joining brownies, scouts or a sports team.
  • What is the purpose of these rituals or activities?
  • What difference do they make and how do they make you feel?  e.g special, a sense of being part of something important, belonging in the group
  • Explain that Baptism is the initiation ritual for Christians into Christian belief and the church, and that an individual can be baptised at any age, from being a new born baby to a very old person

Main Activity

What is Christian Baptism? [Download not found]

  • Find out what pupils already know about baptism, if anyone has been baptised, been to a baptism, or is going to be baptised. Invite them to share with the class about their own experiences or knowledge.

Investigate Baptism

What do the following four symbols mean, that are used in the baptism service?

(see pastoral introduction to Baptism service in Baptism service booklet) Pastoral introduction to Baptism service

  • the sign of the cross
  • water
  • anointing with oil
  • lighting a candle

Why is Baptism called a Holy sacrament?

  • A Holy sacrament in Christianity is a religious rite or that is considered to have been established by Jesus Christ to bring grace to those participating in or receiving it.
  • Look at the scripture describing Jesus being  baptised by John the Baptist Matthew 3 v 3-18
  • Reflect on Piera dela Francescas painting of the Baptism of Christ
  • Consider how this might inspire Christian believers to follow in Jesus footsteps and be baptised.
  • Watch the video clips My baptism of a ten year old boy being baptised in his church, and his personal story about why he is being baptised, My story’. See transcript My story transcript logo to follow what he says.

 Why is water used in Christian Baptism?

  • Reflect on the practical uses of water eg. cleansing, washing, irrigation, rehydration, thirst quenching, and exploration of water in the Bible through drama from previous lessons.
  • Look at the Church of England Baptism Service – prayer for water – via the resources section on this page click on Baptism service
  • Encourage pupils to deduce what water could symbolise e.g cleansing from sin, washing away bad things, new birth, new life, a fresh start

What does it mean to get baptized by water and the Holy Spirit?

  • See Bible Texts exploring Baptism e.g.Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan  – Matthew 3 v 3- 18 

What can we learn from our overseas neighbours about the meaning of Baptism?

  • Compare and contrast rituals Baptism in the UK and Mozambique using photos from the RE with Soul Gallery – Baptism Mozambique  Baptism UK
  • Consider the difference for example Angola, London, Mozambique, Angola (ALMA) links and ‘friendships’ have made to both communities, in understanding the diversity in ways Christian belief is practiced e.g. the use of water in Baptism.
  • Compare and contrast similarities and differences for example the types of vessels used as fonts, where baptisms take place. See RE with Soul gallery of photos in visual resources section: Mozambique Baptism UK Baptism baptism video Mozambique

Plenary

Imagine you are a believer in the UK or Mozambique thinking about being baptised.

  • Where would you choose to be baptised?
  • Would it be in a church at a font, outdoors in a paddling pool, river, or in a lake? 
  • What influenced your choice? 
  • What do you think influences a believer to choose where they are baptised? 

Learning Outcomes

  • Explain what Baptism means and why it is called a sacrament
  • Describe the ways in which water is used in Christian baptism  and its significance
  • Be able to identify the difference baptism makes in the life of a believer?
  • Describe some ways in which we can learn from our overseas neighbours

Theology

Baptism = moving from death to life (i.e. sinful life to God’s new life) – so movement from being self-centred to open to others: God, world, neighbour
Baptism – receive gift of Holy Spirit – God’s mind / presence within believer; so believer is moved to show God’s love to others
Baptism remembers God’s work to save people (e.g. Noah, Moses) and believer becomes part of this story (i.e. they are saved themselves, but also then ‘show’ Jesus to others through how they live – so work to save others too

Resources and Points to Note

Baptism:

Explore different Baptism traditions – partial and full immersion,  use of font, birthing pool, swimming pool, outdoors e.g. lakes, rivers, sea within different denominations e.g. Baptist, Anglican, Methodist, Catholic and in different countries etc