During the Easter season of 2020, when Christian formation could not take place onsite, I led an online intergenerational formation series for the parish I was serving on the meaning of various Easter symbols. Because Easter is a principal occasion for baptism, I created a printable handout about the Baptismal Covenant of the Episcopal Church for the final week of the series. My goals were threefold: 1) I aimed to put the Baptismal Covenant’s theologically weighty concepts into words and practices that could be accessible particularly for children; 2) I sought to develop a resource that would promote creativity; and 3) I wanted church members to be able to download it digitally to use at home so that everyone could stay safe during the pandemic.
As Easter and Pentecost draw near once more and invite Christians to revisit their baptismal commitments, I want to offer a revised version of that printable handout in case it may be helpful to formation leaders for these and other baptismal celebrations. The handout is called “Baptism Promise,” which draws “promise” from the “Baptism Is a Sacrament” preschool/kindergarten lesson in Episcopal Children’s Curriculum, Shell Year, Unit III (2009, p. 8), available online through VTS Lifelong Learning. It provides the key questions that frame the Baptismal Covenant, concise adaptations of its commitments, and circle-shaped spaces for drawing, coloring, or writing about each part of the Baptismal Covenant. It is designed for standard letter paper (8.5 x 11 inches) and available in two formats: a one-page edition and a two-page edition with larger circles. You are welcome to download, copy, print, share, and use them freely in your communities.
Ways to Use These Printables
Here are a few ideas for how you might incorporate these printables into your formation programs:
- Share on days for baptism – All Saints Day, The Baptism of Our Lord, the Easter Vigil, and Pentecost are all recommended feasts for baptizing new members (see The Book of Common Prayer 1979, p. 312). Consider printing copies of the handouts to distribute to children and their families as they enter worship on those days or offering copies as a take-home activity.
- Teach children or intergenerational groups about the Baptismal Covenant – You can utilize these handouts in a formation lesson with children, families with children, or intergenerational groups. They can be a tool for conversation or for creative meditation.
- Include in children’s worship bags – If your community provides activity or coloring sheets for children to use during worship, you can add these handouts to the mix of activity pages.
- Share online – You can make the handouts available to your community online via the links below. Feel free to share them in a newsletter or post them on your church’s website.
- Transform it into another creative activity – You can use the printable as a guide for a photo scavenger hunt, for example, by inviting church members to take photos that symbolize each part of the Baptismal Covenant.