An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Renewal of Baptismal Vows

When there are no candidates for baptism or Confirmation at the Easter Vigil, the celebrant leads the people in the Renewal of Baptismal Vows (BCP, pp. 292-294). The Renewal of Baptismal Vows traditionally follows the Easter Vigil readings. It may also follow the gospel and a sermon or homily. The celebrant invites the people to the Renewal of Baptismal Vows with a bidding that recalls the Easter theme of death and rebirth with Christ by baptism. This address notes that the Lenten observance is ended and invites the people to renew the solemn promises and vows of baptism (BCP, p. 292). The Renewal of Baptismal Vows includes nine questions by the celebrant with responses by the people. The people's response to the first question reaffirms their renunciation of evil and renews their commitment to Jesus Christ. This recalls the threefold renunciation of Satan, evil, and sin and the threefold commitment to Christ of the baptismal service (BCP, pp. 302-303). The remaining eight questions and responses are the same as the baptismal covenant (see BCP, pp. 304-305). The affirmations of the Apostles' Creed (the Baptismal Creed) are made by the people in response to the second, third, and fourth questions by the celebrant. These questions and responses correspond to the three sections of the Apostles' Creed (see BCP, p. 96). The baptismal covenant then continues with five additional questions and responses concerning how the people will live the Christian life. This form for the Renewal of Baptismal Vows may also be used at the other baptismal feasts (Pentecost, All Saints' Day or the Sunday after All Saints' Day, and the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord) when there is no candidate for baptism. The Renewal of Baptismal Vows takes the place of the Nicene Creed at the Easter Vigil and the other baptismal feasts (BCP, pp. 295, 312).

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.