Sacraments: Communion and Baptism
the Lord's Supper
The Lord's Supper, or Holy Communion, is an ancient tradition practiced by most Christian communities.
United Methodists have an Open Table for Communion. It's God's table, not ours. Jesus Christ invites everyone to come and be transformed. You do not need to be a member of this congregation, or this denomination to participate. God is doing the work of grace; we're just helpers.
Although we talk about the "bread and wine" during communion, United Methodists only serve grape juice. We do this so there is no barrier for anyone to participate, be they recovering alcoholics or young children. We also have gluten-free option, for folks who need that.
At Shelton UMC, we usually celebrate communion on the first Sunday of the month, plus some other times.
Communion is a ritual meal, during which we remember the way God has been with us and our ancestors through all time, working to teach and save us.
We recall the Last Supper Jesus had with his disciples before his death. He told them to remember him, his love, and his teachings about forgiveness, and to remember he laid down his life - his body and blood - for the world.
We share bread and juice as symbols representing Jesus Christ's body and blood. We believe that God's grace works through these elements to transform us spiritually into one body, with Christ and one another.
Baptism is a ritual in of promise, commitment, and blessing. We use simple elements of water and prayer.
Once someone is baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, United Methodists honor that as proper Christian baptism. We trust that the Holy Spirit does the work of baptism, so we do not baptize people more than once.
However, throughout our lives,
we reaffirm our baptism and remember the promises, commitment, and blessing.
Baptized into life with Jesus Christ - Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River. The Holy Spirit descended on him and a voice said, "This is my son, the beloved, in whom I am well pleased." We follow this baptism, because we model our lives after Jesus. United Methodists baptize people in a variety of ways - usually not full dunking in a river. Usually, we pray over a bowl of water in the worship space and the pastor pours water from her hands onto people's heads.
Baptized into Community - This rite of passage welcomes us into the Christian family and puts us in a relationship of mutual care with a local congregation. This is why baptism happens in public worship - because it's a commitment to the universal body of Christ AND to the local church congregation. The congregation makes promises to the newly baptized person: we're in it together!
Baptism at any Age - United Methodists baptize infants and children. Their families make the baptismal vows on a child's behalf, until they can speak for themselves and confirm those vows when they are older.
We also baptize youth and adults who are coming to faith in Christ for the first time! It's a joyful event.
Baptism & Belonging
Reaffirming Baptism & Joining the Community - When new people join our congregation, we celebrate that as a reaffirmation of baptism - for the newcomer and for the congregation welcoming them in.
Confirmation - When someone has been baptized as a child, there will come a time when they can choose to confirm for themselves the vows their parents or guardians made on their behalf. This reaffirmation of baptism is called Confirmation.
If you are interested in preparing for Baptism or Confirmation for yourself, your child, or in joining our congregation, please contact our pastor.