The people of LCPC were pleased and privileged to witness the baptism of Alba Mila Perrozzi, daughter of George and Leandra Perrozzi, on Sunday 3rd of July 2022. The church building was completely filled with visitors, family, friends and regular congregants there to worship God and witness the sacrament of baptism for the daughter of our dear friends. As the service began the St. Botolph’s building rang out with the resounding sound of Psalm 100 as the congregation sang in unison, commencing the service with the command in Psalm 100 itself, to ‘come into His presence with singing!’
After worshipping God through singing Psalms, prayer and Bible reading, the time came for worship through the administration of the sacrament of baptism to baby Alba. Our associate pastor Harrison Perkins led the sacrament, beginning with the Preface to Baptism, in which he explained what was about to take place and its significance for all of us.
Harrison defined the sacrament as a sign to represent, seal and apply Christ’s benefits to believers, and baptism is the sacrament of initiation into the covenant community. He explained that in baptism God marks us as His special possession, seals the promise that by faith we are saved, and in doing so, His benefits are conveyed to us as we trust in Him. He continued that baptism is intended for the visible church and that all within the covenant are meant to be baptised; as a result, baptism is a sacrament for both believers and their children. He cited Genesis, that God promised Abraham, ‘I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you,’ (Gen. 17:7) and further, that Peter reminds us of this, that the promise is for us, and our children, and all who are far off (Acts 2:39). He asserted that God has always dealt with His people according to families; He includes children in the covenant of grace and therefore the promises for us are for our children too. In baptism, Harrison said, God ties the child to the covenant community where we celebrate His goodness to us and follow His command to ‘Let the little children come to me,’ (Matthew 19:14). He finished the Preface further defining baptism as a covenantal rite and a reminder that God’s sovereign grace has brought us to new life.
Harrison subsequently read question 167 from the Westminster Larger Catechism: ‘How is our Baptism to be improved by us?’ to which the congregation communally responded with the Catechism’s answer, written on the order of service.
George and Leandra then took vows, firstly promising to acknowledge the Bible to be the Word of God and only guide in all matters of faith and conduct, then to confess God — the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit — as revealed in Scripture, to be their God, then to profess faith in Jesus Christ as the only Saviour of sinners and as their Saviour and Lord, and finally, to promise, in dependence on God’s promised help, by their prayers, teaching and example, to bring up Alba in the instruction and discipline of the Lord. Harrison then baptised Alba, sprinkling her with water, and then led the congregation in prayer.
George and Leandra have answered some interview questions about Alba’s baptism, and how they intend to raise her in the faith. When speaking practically, George and Leandra answered, ‘We want to read the Bible with Alba and help her understand the meaning of the Gospel in home Bible studies so that she too will love and worship our saviour Jesus Christ. We will pray with Alba every day and encourage her to pray herself. We will encourage Alba to ask questions about our faith so that she fully understands the Gospel and why it is the truth.’ We further asked how the congregation can help in Alba’s discipleship, and they answered, ‘By offering support and advice in sound teaching and doctrine. By offering practical advice on how they dealt with certain issues that arise when a child grows up. Establishing a friendship group at church would be great!’
George and Leandra expressed things they were looking forward to in their parenting of Alba, including, ‘When she is old enough to understand the sacrifice that the Lord made for us dying on the cross for our sins even though we are not worthy, so that the gates of heaven will be open to us through faith. When she truly understands and professes faith in the Lord, we look forward to that day. Worshipping together as a family and how a true acceptance of God’s word leads to true reconciliation with him and the joy that brings in life.’ In regards to the challenges that come with this, George and Leandra reflected, ‘There are a few things that we have thought about which may be challenging to face in the coming years. Such as Alba facing bullying or any unkindness from peers because of her faith. Worldly views on matters which contradict the Scripture is another serious challenge to overcome and false teachings.’
In conclusion George and Leandra ultimately expressed hope for their life with Alba, saying, ‘We have our worries, especially the influence of worldly and ungodly views and ways of life and how easily disseminated they are through social media etc. However, we must pray for guidance, patience and trust – there will certainly be numerous bumps along the road! However, knowing that the Lord is guiding us as a family is so comforting, before we became Christians we wouldn’t have ever thought of God being in the centre of raising our child and would have felt some anxiety about how we would be as parents. Trusting in the Lord and his plan for us, that we are his people, fills us with confidence that the Lord will help us to raise Alba.’
The people of LCPC are indeed full of joy to see Alba grow, and on the day of her baptism Pastor Andy Longwe led the rest of the service, preaching a sermon on Psalm 100, proclaiming the Gospel using the words the psalmist wrote: ‘For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.’ It was a privilege and blessing to witness this truth of God’s love in the initiation of another generation, baby Alba, into our covenant family, whom we can joyfully include in the psalmist’s statement: ‘It is he who made us, and we are his, we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.’