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Baptismal Font Q&A

The Liturgical Arts Committee is grateful for the generous gifts given towards the new bronze baptismal font. Your deep generosity shows the bountiful abundance of our thriving congregation. Our conversations, several questions have come up which we’d like to address here.

Why do we need a new baptismal font?

Like Episcopal congregations all across our diocese and the country, Good Samaritan has historically placed a high value on liturgical arts. The reredos, stations of the cross, and hand-painted banners were created by members of our congregation. Thousands of hours of time and talent were spent adding these elements to our scared worship space. It follows that we put the same care and value into choosing a new baptismal font for our church.
Holy Baptism is the full initiation of a person into the body of Christ. It is an entry point to a new relationship with God, a new role within the community of the church, and participation in the principle act of Christian worship: Holy Eucharist. As people enter the nave, the font is the sacred object that expresses who we are and what we are about: an invitation to experience the abundant living waters of Jesus Christ. The font will say to all who enter our sacred space: We take what we do here seriously, and we are here to serve our community for generations to come. The font draws us toward the altar and the ritual completion of our journey–hands outstretched receiving the body of Christ. The path from the baptismal font to the altar is a symbol of our Christian pilgrimage toward God.
It is time to complete our space and path from Baptism to Eucharist. We are almost there.

What goes into creating a new baptismal font?

The committee spent nine months researching and creating a liturgical vision for our worship space which would draw the worshiper’s attention to the two great sacramental acts of the Church: Baptism and Holy Eucharist. Many hours were spent by committee members in conversation and discussion, visiting artists’ studios and looking at metal samples.
Upon visiting Classic Foundry, whom we chose to create our baptismal font, we were in awe of the care and reverence that each artist showed in their work. The manager of Classic Foundry, Ion Onutan, visited Good Samaritan, which led him to design this beautiful bronze baptismal font which compliments and strengthens our existing altar and sanctuary. We feel his design encompasses our vision and our needs to permanently and formally complete our sacred sanctuary space.

Why not a prefabricated baptismal font?

The Liturgical Arts Committee, Fr. Steve, and the Vestry chose not to go with a prefabricated baptismal font due to its short-term life. Prefabricated baptismal font materials and design do not match up the high quality of Classic Foundry’s craftsmanship, and the designs out in the marketplace do not match the aesthetics of our nave. The materials and construction are not strong nor do they represent permanence. They may cost less, but the money saved would lead us back to our current font problem of having a temporary fixture that has broken numerous times over the years.
A custom designed font meets all of our needs. The strong bronze bowl has a hidden drain for easy cleaning. The hidden retractable wheels in the cherry wood base allow for mobility. The cherry wood matches the wood of all the altar furnishings. The durability of the bronze will allow generation after generation to experience baptisms, and all who enter will be welcomed into our sacred space with the sense of God’s permanence, beauty, and mystery.
We have faith that Classic Foundry’s team of highly skilled, experienced sculptors, artists, and engineers will bring our vision to life. Good Samaritans will be invited for a tour of the foundry to experience first-hand the creation process.

Why does the proposed baptismal font cost $20,000?

The cost of the new font includes the design, the casting, the construction of the base, and the installation. Bronze was chosen because it is a natural element and one of the earliest metals known to man. It represents strength, durability, and longevity, just like our congregation.
The current font was never meant to be permanent. The new font, made of bronze and wood matching our altar furniture, will serve our community of faith for many years to come.

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You’re Invited to Go Deeper

by The Rev. Dr. Steve Danzey

Are you wondering why we are doing an adult formation series on Baptism? It may seem basic, or maybe you feel that you know everything about it already. But the truth is that there is always something to learn and ways to grow. Baptism gets to the heart of what it is to be a Christian—both the ways in which we encounter God’s grace and what it means to live as a Christian in the world. So whether you were baptized 60 years ago or are thinking about doing it now, diving into its meaning will stretch and deepen your faith as an individual and, just as importantly, the faith we share as a community.

If you missed the first week of “I Will, With God’s Help,” our current formation series on the Baptismal Covenant, you can still join us this Sunday for the remainder of the class. We meet at 9:15 am in the Narthex on Sundays. The youth of Good Samaritan have been exploring “I Will, With God’s Help” since September and we hope you’ll join them in learning about and exploring our faith.

About the Baptismal Covenant

In the Episcopal Church, baptism is when we say “yes” to God’s grace in our lives and to everything being a Christian means. We say “yes” by making the promises contained in our Baptismal Covenant—our job description, of sorts, as Christians as we understand it in the Episcopal Church.

Many of us were baptized as babies. Our parents and sponsors said “yes” for us at that point, promising to guide us in the Christian life according to the Baptismal Covenant, hoping that one day, we might make the promises and follow Christ for ourselves. You may have been confirmed at some point later on in life and have lived the promises as your own. The reality is that we always have room to grow, to be more faithful to our call as Christians, to make these promises again and again because we never live them perfectly. This is the reason why we say the Baptismal Covenant together, as a community, whenever someone is baptized in our church and several other times throughout the year. We need always to be reminded of God’s call and what it is we have promised to do as followers of Jesus.

Along with our formation series to explore the meaning of this in more depth, two opportunities to reaffirm the promises of our Baptismal Covenant are happening in the coming weeks:

  1. This coming Sunday, January 13, is the day we celebrate the Baptism of Our Lord, and we will renew the Baptismal Covenant together as we remember Jesus’ own baptism—whose example we follow.
  2. On February 10, Bishop Greg Rickel will be visiting during our regular services, giving the sermon, baptizing and receiving any new members, confirming youth and adults, and praying for those who would like to make a more formal recommitment to their baptismal promises.

I hope you will join your church family and make the commitment to go deeper with us this year as we go on a journey with Jesus. Baptism is the beginning of our Christian life, just as it was the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry. After we renew our Baptismal Covenant in the coming weeks, we will continue following Jesus’ journey of love through his life and death in Lent, through his resurrection in Easter, and finally through his charge to the church at Pentecost. Each stage of the journey is important and your presence is what makes us a community as we travel together.

—Fr. Steve+

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