A serious question for my friends who are United Methodist pastors - do you do Infant Dedication as well as Infant Baptism in your church?
If so, where do you find the liturgy for a dedication? You’d have to go outside the denomination or to an old (almost pre-merger) Book of Worship. The lack of a liturgy for Infant Dedication in the current Book of Worship at least implies that we don’t do dedication, doesn’t it?
And more questions: How does dedication fit into your overall theology of baptism? How do you distinguish between a dedication and a baptism, for yourself, for your congregation, for the parents?
Where, if at all, does Confirmation fit into this over-all picture? As the institutional way we urge young people to make a Profession of Faith.
I’m asking because I’ve followed pastors who only allowed Infant Dedications and I’ve followed pastors who only allowed baptism. I know pastors who will do either/or. I’ve wrestled with this a lot myself, both in seminary and in the parish. I know where I’ve come down on this, but I know that I have colleagues who have differing ideas. Sadly, there is rarely an opportunity for us to exchange those ideas.
I’m hoping to hear from at least some of you here. I really want to know what you think.