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January 25, 1992|By GERALD RENNER; Courant Religion Writer



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In a footfall that symbolizes a stride against unity, leaders of the above Christian churches in Connecticut appear acceding Friday on a baptismal affidavit that Roman Catholic, Protestant and Greek Orthodox pastors can use in common.

The affidavit underlines a celebrated all-embracing acceding that churches accomplished a decade ago that recognizes the authority of anniversary other’s rite of admission into the Christian faith.

It formally concluded centuries of interchurch argument over the acceptation of ablution and such issues as the authority of baptizing breed vs. adults and whether a being should be “sprinkled” or “immersed.”



“We accept that our all-comprehensive baptismal affidavit is the aboriginal of its affectionate in the country,” said the Rev. Stephen J. Sidorak Jr., controlling administrator of the Christian Conference of Connecticut.

Leaders of denominations apery added than 2,500 churches in Connecticut accustomed the all-comprehensive affidavit and said they will animate pastors to use it instead of a denominational one.

Episcopal Bishop Arthur E. Walmsley of Connecticut said he would “encourage its use in Episcopal churches, as I apperceive my colleagues in added traditions accept done for their constituents.”

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Use of the affidavit “witnesses to the accord we already allotment in Christ,” said Catholic Bishop Daniel P. Reilly of Norwich.

The Rev. Kim-Eric Williams, pastor of Concordia Lutheran Abbey in Manchester, proposed the abstraction for the affidavit to the Christian Conference. The abstraction did not arise with him, Williams said, but is article that has been done back 1980 in Trinidad, area he was a missionary.

Many years of apostolic chat amid abbey assembly resulted in their accepted compassionate of baptism, said Williams, Connecticut adumbrative of the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Abbey in America.

For example, he said, abounding Baptist churches that asperse a being actual now admit the authority of ablution by admixture alone a person’s head, as is done frequently in the Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopal and added all-powerful churches.

“They begin out that admixture began back the abbey moved

north of the Alps and it got too algid to immerse,” Williams said.

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The all-powerful churches accept consistently accustomed the authority of ablution by immersion, he said.

Similarly, abounding churches that admit alone bodies old abundant to accomplish a claimed charge accept developed “dedication” ceremonies for infants, in which the baby is accustomed into the Christian community.

The churches accept appear to accept that anniversary one asks a being to accomplish a claimed charge to Christ at some point, Williams said. That is about done at acceptance in churches that admit infants.

The alternate compassionate of Christian ablution was allotment of a affidavit on baptism, Eucharist and ministry, which was agreed to in Lima, Peru, in 1982 by assembly of the World Council of Churches and the Catholic Church. It had been years in the making.

The affidavit was “one footfall in developing a apostolic accord of axial elements of the Christian faith,” said G. Donald Ferree, all-comprehensive administrator for the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut.

Ferree was administrator of a 1 1/2 -year abstraction of the Lima affidavit by associates of the Christian Conference of Connecticut.

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“For years, best Christians accept accustomed one another’s baptisms in principle, but in convenance the focus was on the accurate aggregation or at best the accord or `church’ into which one was baptized. Abstraction of baptism, Eucharist and admiral led the associates of ChrisCon to apprehend this was not enough,” Ferree said.

Other denominations accordant to use the affidavit are the Connecticut Missionary Baptist Church; African Methodist Episcopal Church; African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church; Evangelical Covenant Abbey of America; Presbyterian Abbey (U.S.A.); United Abbey of Christ; Greek Archdiocese of North and South America; American Baptist Churches; and United Methodist Church.

The affidavit attests that a being was “baptized with baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” an ancient, accepted formula. On the larboard ancillary of the affidavit is a checkered architecture allegorical of the Trinity, Christ and the baptize of baptism.

Sidorak said the certificates are accessible at a appropriate retail amount of $11.50 for a box of 25. They are on duke in Hartford at the Christian Conference, 60 Lorraine St., and the Catholic Bookstore, 125 Market St.

They are additionally accessible at Patrick Baker & Sons in Southington, Maryheart Crusaders in Meriden and Spiritual Foundations in Norwich, and will be broadcast to added religious stores, Sidorak said

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