Transgender Lifecycle Rituals: Affirmation of Baptism

This resource was written as part of a collection of Transgender Lifecycle Rituals, and is provided as an example. Please be in touch with River if you want to use or adapt it for use in a Worship Service.

Supplies: A worship gathering, Baptistry/Baptismal Font or other source of water.
Considerations: This service is written for an MCC context — in which we celebrate baptism infrequently as most of our members are baptized in other faith traditions before coming to an MCC congregation. One of the many ways we do celebrate baptism is through Affirmations of Baptism — and/or rebaptism in which a person celebrates God’s affirmation of them, including their sexuality, gender identity and their faith. This would ideally be used after the Funeral for a Name, but also might occur before that ritual if this ritual was used to introduce a person’s new name to the worshipping community.
The main ritual concern would be if one wanted to use an old name or not. It could be harmful to use the old name if the congregation already knows the new name; alternately, if only a new name is used and the congregation does not know the new name, it could be confusing. Whichever option is selected, make sure the person affirming their baptism is on board and can participate fully in their celebration.
Location: Ideally within a worship service of the local worshipping community. Alternately it could take place with friends by a body of water — as in the Funeral for a Name.
Words and Actions:

Leader: Holy one, You are filled with grace and mercy. Your love shows us the way of life everlasting. In the promises of Baptism, you mark each one as family and bring us from the realm of death to the place of endless life. Join all the baptized into your family, the body of Christ. {Old Name}/{Beloved}, You present yourself to change your name before God, and to affirm your baptism.

Person Affirming Baptism(PAB): I do.

Leader: Beloved Child of the Universe, You are the breath of thousands of stars, Forged in fiery furnaces beyond imagination, Spread so far apart from each other, Brought together to create the frame that you inhabit. Did you know that more than the breath of stars, you are the stories that form you? We remember you. We remember the name that your parents gave you at your birth, {Old Name OPTIONAL} and we gather to honor your new name {New Name}.

To Congregation: {Pronoun’s} name shall be {New Name}

Congregation: {Pronoun’s} name shall be {New Name}

From this point forward, only New Name should be used.

Leader: As followers of Jesus, we look to the Love God sent to this earth. We follow the example of one called Jesus. We gather together to celebrate who you are, and where you are going. Beloved, would you share something about your new name?

Person Affirming Baptism shares brief 1-3 min. reflection

Leader: Please join with us as our Beloved {Name}, affirms their promises to God and this community. If using this rite in a faith tradition that has an extant baptismal or affirmation rite, insert the traditional baptismal promises of that community

N., Do you promise to be part of our community, grounded in God’s radically inclusive love for all people?

PAB: I do, and ask God to guide me.

N., Do you promise to be part of our ongoing conversation on matters of belief and faith?

PAB: I do, and ask God to guide me.

N., Do you promise to use your power to be God’s healing presence in a hurting world?

PAB: I do, and ask God to guide me.

N., Do you promise to actively resist systems and structures which are destroying God’s creation?

PAB: I do, and ask God to guide me.

Congregation, Do you promise to walk with N as {pronoun} participates in our conversation on matters of belief and faith?

Cong: We do, and ask God to guide us.

Do you promise to honor N with the fullness and diversity {pronoun} brings to our community?

Cong: We do, and ask God to guide us.

Do you promise to share your lives with N as you do with all of those here?

Cong: We do, and ask God to guide us.

N, we welcome you today as part of our community, no longer as a name now removed to history, but with the love and stories that have shaped you into the person you are today.

Cong: We Welcome You.

Pour or immerse with water as appropriate to your tradition and location while saying these or similar words.

Leader: Name, I baptize you in the Name of the Creator And of the Christ And of Love. Let us Pray: We give you thanks, O God. You move through water, fire, air and earth. You created {Name}, and made {pronoun} your beloved. In the waters of Baptism you marked {pronoun} with your cross, and gave {pronoun} the promise of endless life. Sustain {name} with the Holy Spirit of Love you pour out on all your beloveds.

Congregation: Amen {Name}, Beloved of God, You have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever. Amen.
[The service continues.]