Questions on Baptism
January 25, 2018 11:03 AM   Subscribe

Welcoming a tiny human into the world in a few months. My questions have questions, but now a thoughtful gift from my Aunt has provoked even more.

My Aunt gave me the dress every single one of my aunts and uncles (and father) were baptized in. It might have even been used for my grandmother, but we're not sure. It's certainly old enough that I'd believe it. It is a beautiful hand-sewn baby gown that's gone yellow with age, probably cotton or linen. I have so, so many questions...but the ones I hope you can help with are these.

1) Anyone got good tips or tricks on treating or washing this delicate cloth that might restore it back to something like its original pure white state? Recommendations in the Phoenix area for someplace that could do it for me?

2) Any advice on finding a church to baptize a baby in, when neither my husband or I are particularly religious? We were raised Methodist and Lutheran respectively, so while we don't have any problems with baptism, we also don't go to church like...ever. We probably wouldn't be going back to the church that does the baptism. My Aunt lives two hours away, so her church is a no-go.

3) Anything I should know about baptism specifically? I haven't been involved in any except my own which I obviously don't remember. I don't assume you just call up the church, make an appointment, show up with baby in tow, and 10 minutes later you're done?
posted by sharp pointy objects to Religion & Philosophy (31 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My wife and I aren't particularly religious now, but we baptized our first-born in part to appease my mother, who lived close to us when we had our first. We went to the Lutheran church I went to as a kid, and where my parents are still involved, which was an hour and a half away from us. I think we had to sit down with the pastor in advance and talk about what the baptism meant and how we were going to raise our kid, but it's been over 6 years and it's all a bit hazy.

From my limited experience, my responses #2 and #3: no, you generally can't just pop in for a baptism, so find one where someone you know belongs and be ready for a religious discussion. I'm sure there are less critical churches, but be prepared for most to want you to sit and talk with them for a while in advance.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:10 AM on January 25, 2018

If I was in the market for a baptism without a church already in mind, I would make sure the baptism didn’t also mean a lifelong entry in the membership of the church.
posted by secrethandshake at 11:11 AM on January 25, 2018 [4 favorites]

I think it's pretty unlikely, as you note, that you'll be able to call up the church and just do a baptism.

I'm high-church Episcopalian (Anglo-Catholic) and so maybe we take baptism more seriously than your nearest Methodist or Lutheran church but the principle is pretty much the same: from the Church's perspective, baptism is not just an adorable little rite of passage, but a Sacrament that marks out and seals the baptized person as a member of the Church with the responsibility to follow Jesus; and in the case of infant baptism, the godparent(s) make these promises on the child's behalf.

Private baptisms are also usually not done anymore, since baptism is considered to be a public act that ordinarily takes place in the context of the faith community in which the child will be raised.

However, the above aside: I suggest you call or shoot an email to the Lutheran or Methodist church nearest you and ask to set up a meeting with the pastor. (If Lutheran, make sure the church is ELCA, not Missouri Synod or Wisconsin Synod -- those are more conservative churches and will almost certainly not be okay with baptizing a child when their parents aren't a part of the congregation.)

I'm not sure if the United Church of Christ or the Unitarian Universalists generally practice infant baptism, but those might be other options which tend to be less strict than Lutheran/Methodist/Presbyterian/Episcopal churches around this kind of thing.
posted by tivalasvegas at 11:20 AM on January 25, 2018 [7 favorites]

If you're affiliated with a university, you might find that a chaplain would be able to perform a baptism. (We had a hospital chaplain baptize our daughter but that was a special case.)

There's also a role/job called a Life/Humanist Celebrant where they will do baby naming ceremonies similar to a baptism along with a bunch of other things. So that's an option as well.
posted by warriorqueen at 11:30 AM on January 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

Since you aren't religious I would actually suggest your Aunt's church might be the best option (as long as you clarify you aren't going to become churchgoers). I baptized my children although I am atheist because it was important to my family. I was fine with that, but you may feel differently about appropriating someone else's religion (I was raised cafeteria catholic so we already had a tenuous relationship with religion).
posted by saucysault at 11:33 AM on January 25, 2018 [5 favorites]

I was not baptized as an infant and the church I attended had families who baptized and other families who dedicated babies and left baptism as a decision for adults or teenagers. In both cases, it was expected that the family continue attending the church.
In your case, I would look for a local Unitarian church and inquire about their policies. Another option is to seek out an independent clergy person and see if they would be willing to perform the ceremony. Many colleges and seminaries have chapels that can be rented for weddings and they might be available for a baptism as well.
I was baptized in a lake as a teenager, so that is another option for a location. It is certainly less formal, but it also a bit more authentic to the original ceremony.
posted by soelo at 11:34 AM on January 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

You could do a DIY baby blessing? Similar to what non-religious couples do for weddings, you could hire an officiant or get a family friend who is good at public speaking, and there are some customizable basic scripts online that would be easy to follow. You could host it at your house or a park or another venue.
posted by castlebravo at 11:35 AM on January 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

The Unitarians do child dedication ceremonies; you might talk to your local Unitarian church.

Re the gown, it would be helpful to know what it might be made of. If it is linen, water dripped on it will be immediately absorbed. With cotton, water beads up or absorbs slowly. Here is some info. about cleaning.
posted by gudrun at 11:36 AM on January 25, 2018 [6 favorites]

I would agree with seeking out a Unitarian Universalist church, which does not technically do baptisms but will do a dedication ceremony and almost certainly be open to changing up the language to something you are comfortable with. This also leaves things open to your child to be actually baptized as an adult if they so choose. Full disclosure, I am biased toward this because it's what my parents did -- UU dedication ceremony, and I chose to be baptized as an adult in a church I chose. I think I wouldn't have wanted to be baptized in some random church that I then had zero connection to (obviously it's different if you're going to actually raise the baby in that congregation, but it sounds like that's not in the cards). Another option would be if there is a congregation your child will have some continuing connection to, even if it's just occasionally around the holidays -- that could be the aunt's church, a grandparent's church, etc. But just picking a random place out of the phone book feels a little odd to me.
posted by rainbowbrite at 11:39 AM on January 25, 2018 [4 favorites]

Seconding tivalasvegas. (Also Anglo-Catholic, for what that's worth...)

It's worth noting in addition that at an Episcopalian baptism you and the kid's godparents will affirm that "you [will be] responsible for seeing that the child you present is brought up in the Christian faith and life", affirm the Apostles' Creed, and more: the order is at (among other places) . It's been a few years since my time in the United Methodist Church, but I remember baptism there being similar.

Having said that, parents, pastors, and churches take these affirmations with different degrees of seriousness. Send an email to the pastor of one of the more liberal UMC, Episcopalian, or ELCA churches in your area and see what he or she has to say. I'm sure they'll be more than happy to hear from you and give you a little more specific guidance.
posted by golwengaud at 11:39 AM on January 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

Also---tivalasvegas alludes to this, but in my experience baptisms are generally done during one of the big Sunday morning services. (I've heard of exceptions, though, and I wonder if I'm subject to a selection bias here---I obviously don't see any baptisms that aren't at the services I go to.)
posted by golwengaud at 11:42 AM on January 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Hi! Vintage garment restorer and dealer here!

Depending on how fragile the dress is, you MAY be able to wash it. The rule of thumb for washing vintage clothing is "when in doubt, don't". If the fabric is brittle, is already starting to wear through, or has significant fraying, don't wash it.

If you decide it seems sturdy enough to hold up to a wash, here's what you do:

Remove any metal parts or buttons, including covered buttons with metal shanks. These can rust.

If the problem is that old hooks have left rust marks, you really need to remove the hooks, or you will just get more rust.

Fasten all remaining fasteners so they don’t catch on the dress while washing.

Get some plastic window screening from your hardware store. Cut 2 pieces the size of your washing area, say a bath tub. Cut the edges so they are nice and smooth. Safety pin together all the way down one side. Place this screening open on a table like a book. Place the garment in this, laid out as smoothly as possible, close the screen and safety pin it closed.

Run your water in the tub – somewhere in the 80 – 115 degree range is good, although I have used hotter water on heavily stained white cotton. You will need just enough water to cover the garment. I use Orvus for almost everything, although I have read that Ivory Soap will work as well. But I will use an oxyclean type detergent with the Orvus when the garment is cotton and heavily stained. I never use it on silk or wool.

When the detergent is dissolves, lower the screen with garment into the water. Press it down gently to remove the air under it. Let this soak. I have been told 45 minutes will neutralize the garment. But with sturdier items, I have left it in longer. With heavily soiled items, I have also changed the water and soaked again.

Do not agitate, rub or swirl around. Just let it lay there.

Now – Drain. Rinse by running clean barely lukewarm water, press down lightly to push the water through the textile and drain again. Repeat the rinse at least 4 times. When I asked the curator at The KY Historical Society how clean the water needed to be at the final rinse , she told me: ” So clean you can drink it“ . This last rinse should be distilled water for a really good textile. Actually, if you have a really fine piece, distilled water would be great for the whole process.

After the last Drain – lay clean towels over the garment and roll it up. This will take a lot of the moisture out and help you transport to the drying area.

Lay clean towels on a flat surface large enough to lay out your garment as flat as possible. Unroll the screen and remove the wet towel from the tub. If the garment has become wadded or folded over, open the screen, and while leaving the garment on the table, adjust it to have as few folds an wrinkles a possible. Close the screen. If you have pets, place a towel over the screen. Let dry.

In humid months, I use window fans to circulate the air and help the garment dry more quickly. You can also change the damp towels to dry ones to speed this up.

Never, ever hang older textiles to dry. The fibers are weakest when wet. And gravity can be so very cruel.

Steaming or Pressing.

Steaming is gentler and often much more effective. Pressing when needed is best done on the coolest temp that will do some good and from the wrong side of the fabric. If you can get to the wrong side, a press cloth will protect the surface of the garment from the hard metal plate of the iron.

Avoid pressing dirty fabrics. It just grinds the soil into the fibers and makes it even harder to remove.

If you do press, be careful with your motion. When sliding the iron around you can catch threads and lace with the point of the iron. An up an down motion is safer.

When steaming, avoid letting the hot metal head come in direct contact with the fabric. I usually steam from the wrong side and have found this works quite well.
posted by ananci at 11:42 AM on January 25, 2018 [43 favorites]

Another option would be if there is a congregation your child will have some continuing connection to, even if it's just occasionally around the holidays -- that could be the aunt's church, a grandparent's church, etc.

Yes, this is what happened to me -- I was baptized in my grandmother's Presbyterian church, which was (until her passing a few years ago) my family's general "home church" for holidays. I used to volunteer there as like a vacation bible school leader and stuff when I was a teen but otherwise wasn't particularly connected to the community.

Where is the rest of your family? Do they live near you, your aunt, neither...? There's a good chance that some or many of them are going to want to attend, even if they're not particularly observant religious folks -- baptism is a Thing.
posted by tivalasvegas at 11:45 AM on January 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Also---tivalasvegas alludes to this, but in my experience baptisms are generally done during one of the big Sunday morning services. (I've heard of exceptions, though, and I wonder if I'm subject to a selection bias here---I obviously don't see any baptisms that aren't at the services I go to.)

Technically any baptized Christian can perform a baptism, and absolutely should do so if there is a danger of the child dying while unbaptized. But it does sound like the OP is looking for a more formal / ceremonial service with a clergyperson performing the baptism.
posted by tivalasvegas at 11:46 AM on January 25, 2018

Honestly, I think it'd be disrespectful to baptize a child in a particular Christian church you had no connection to, much less a faith you had no intention of rearing her in. To every denomination I've ever known, baptism is joining the body of the believers in Christ. It's so important that many Protestant splinter groups condemned infant baptism as inadequate to reflect the commitment of the person. It's not just a box to tick.

That makes the UUs really your best option.
posted by praemunire at 11:53 AM on January 25, 2018 [18 favorites]

I just looked up baptism in my city as I'm facing a similar problem - family will want to see the baby baptized, but while we're officially Catholic we are in reality atheists and don't go to church (on the other hand, we were married in the church and our eldest was baptized. Family arranged that in another city across the country, I don't remember much about it. The point is, our documents are in order).

Anyhow, by googling I came up with a 'Baptism Brochure' that explains the requirements, which include the selection of godparents ("Godparents must be practicing, active Catholics
who have received the 3 Sacraments of Initiation; Baptism, Communion and Confirmation" - I don't know if they require proof) and 2, 2-hour sessions at the church.

That's only for Catholics, of course, at that particular church, and different churches in different areas may be more or less strict.

In any case, I don't judge you for seeking a baptism while non-religious. Our families might wail about the baby going to hell if it's not baptized, and I don't want to deal with that.
posted by kitcat at 11:54 AM on January 25, 2018

A few clarifications and an update:

I was texting my Aunt this morning, and she just reminded me of the church in Gilbert that my other Aunt used to attend and was very active in, before she passed away. Which I also attended for a few years as a teenager before I just stopped going altogether. Since the baby is being named after this other Aunt, I'll contact them first and see if they might be willing to do it. I'll have to do some digging in my memory, but I bet I can find them.

My husband and I don't attend church anymore, but we do believe. We just aren't comfortable with how most churches are run, how dogmatic they are, or how we felt in them growing up. If anyone decided to open up a church focused on nonjudgmental fellowship with other very nerdy gamer/RPG types, we'd probably give it a go.

Not getting the child baptized isn't an option. My Aunt pretty explicitly said that if we didn't do it, she would take the kid to get it done on her own. I'm sure she was serious. That's a pretty big overstepping of boundaries, but I've got so few family members left that I don't dislike that I'm willing to overlook it as I was planning on doing it anyway.

And I thank everyone who reminded me about Godparents. Our housemates will probably end up being the godparents, which might get a bit weird, since one of them is Mormon and the other is Pagan. I honestly don't know what to do about that...I guess I just discuss it with the Pastor.
posted by sharp pointy objects at 12:03 PM on January 25, 2018

As soon as you said that not doing it would cause a brand new family rift I'm with you on this.

Aunt's church, give 'em some baloney about wanting to have it done at a church that's important to the family and you haven't established that relationship yet on your own, or maybe the aunt can't travel, or maybe your church's baptismal has giardia or something.
posted by turkeybrain at 12:12 PM on January 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

With a new baby you probably don't have much time for projects, but you might consider using this as a reason to look around and see if you can find a church that really suit you. There are many people like you who reject what felt like closed-minded, dogmatic churches of childhood to form communities that are open, loving places where people try to live by their values without judging others. If you can find that place, it could be a big win because my personal belief is that children can benefit from being raised with the sense of faith, values and community that comes from a positive connection with their faith community.
posted by metahawk at 12:15 PM on January 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

Given your update, if you're genuinely looking for a church where you would be more comfortable and might actually want to join in the longer-term, I would suggest to try out some United Church of Christ congregations in your area. There are also definitely progressive Methodist churches out there, and probably some other denominations as well (I'm just less familiar with that). Look for places that are welcoming to LGBTQ+ folks, even if that's not you -- it's probably a good sign that they're going to be a generally welcoming/nonjudgmental place. The term "progressive Christian" on a church's website is also a good sign, as is "taking the Bible seriously but not literally". You might also look for congregations that emphasize gender-neutral and gender-inclusive language on their websites, or female/LGBTQ+/trans ministers.

Godparent-wise, you are probably going to need to find one of these churches anyway for the baptism, since I don't think more conservative churches will be down with a pagan godparent! We attend a UCC church and talked to our minister specifically about having a Jewish godparent, which he was totally down with and will adjust the language of the ceremony so that said godparent can comfortably participate in the lines they are asked to say (while the baptism overall will use Christian language, the Jewish godparent's portion will be focused on spiritual development more broadly). But, I think more conservative churches would require godparents to -- at a minimum -- use language in the ceremony that focuses on Jesus and raising the child in the Christian faith, which obviously a non-Christian godparent may be quite uncomfortable with.
posted by rainbowbrite at 12:17 PM on January 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

The godparents for a Catholic baptism have to be Catholics themselves, says Wikipedia. Other Christians can be "witnesses", but not godparents.
posted by amf at 12:34 PM on January 25, 2018

The godparents for a Catholic baptism have to be Catholics themselves, says Wikipedia. Other Christians can be "witnesses", but not godparents.

You only need to have one sponsor, as canon law calls them, so if you prefer to have both a godmother and godfather present at the ceremony, a baptized person of another church may attend as witness as long as one sponsor is Catholic. But lawful Catholic baptism required that "there be a well-founded hope that the child will be brought up in the [C]atholic religion," which would be completely false in this case. Catholic baptism is out, period.
posted by praemunire at 1:30 PM on January 25, 2018

We have a family dress like that, although none of the current generation were baptised in it, we did dress them all in it as 2-3 month olds, and take 'formal' pictures of them each. These are very precious to me because we have photos that make a wonderful connection between the generations all literally in the same gown. I have photos of some of the older generation relatives as infants in it, and always hope I might come across more photos. You might want to consider doing the same, even if you don't know of any photos of other family members in the dress.
posted by Northbysomewhatcrazy at 2:08 PM on January 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

That makes the UUs really your best option.

Looks like this is not even germane advice for the OP, but for future readers of this thread: just because you are an atheist does not mean the UUs are your best option. It is a real actual faith community and child dedications are for children who are joining it.
posted by clavicle at 2:34 PM on January 25, 2018 [5 favorites]

Try Onechurch in Chandler
posted by SyraCarol at 2:41 PM on January 25, 2018

Looks like this is not even germane advice for the OP, but for future readers of this thread: just because you are an atheist does not mean the UUs are your best option. It is a real actual faith community

Which adheres to absolutely no creed and, in fact, explicitly welcomes atheists (as it sounded like OP might be). Unlike, say, a Catholic baptism, a UU ceremony for the little one would involve no misrepresentations concerning the parents' faith and their intentions for the child's faith (not that OP would want to do that). Further, it's my understanding that the content of the ceremony is not formalized, but can be tailored to the beliefs and intentions of the parents. I would be very surprised if a UU minister open to having a ceremony for the little one couldn't be found. Some would consider that lack of exclusiveness part of the point and benefit of rejecting a church hierarchy, formal liturgy, officially defined membership, and fixed dogma.
posted by praemunire at 2:58 PM on January 25, 2018 [4 favorites]

For the garment, if you want a professional to look at it, you can call around to places that deal with vintage wedding gowns (try talking to upscale vintage shops for referrals).

My friend recently did this here in the Bay Area with a vintage wedding dress through an alterations expert who specializes in vintage garments, and the results were quite good. She got the referral through Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles, which is local to us but they may have a network that extends as far as Phoenix, so might be worth a shot to call or email them.

Since it's a family heirloom, it might be worth it to farm it out.
posted by vunder at 3:20 PM on January 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Look, pastors know that a lot of people are bringing their kid for baptism because of family tradition and/or as "fire protection," and are not regular church-goers or necessarily even believers. The ones who strenuously object to that are going to tell you they object to it and question you closely. They're not shy about it. For a lot of pastors, "I was raised Methodist and while I'm not currently attending church I still kinda believe and I'd like my child baptized" is plenty. Yes, theologically, you're bringing a child into the Body of Christ and, yes, you're making a commitment to raise them Christian and/or in a specific Christian tradition, but life is messy and people are complicated and the grace of God is free, and many pastors would like to give your child the gift of God's grace simply because you asked for it, even if they can tell you're not Johnny Christian and you're going to get your baptizin' and disappear. Many people become churchgoers when they have kids, or their kids reach school age, and many pastors like to be welcoming to families with new babies who may (or may not!) be drifting closer to the church. If the pastor has a problem with your level of commitment, they will definitely let you know (and in my experience they will not mince words).

I think your other aunt's church sounds like a good option. But also if you are Methodist and Lutheran, you should feel free to check out some local Methodist and Lutheran churches and get in touch with one that seems like you'd like it. Many Methodist and Lutheran churches are pretty modern and progressive, and many of their pastors will baptize your child even if you're only loosely attached to the church (as in, you were raised in it but don't go). Some won't, but many will. The other thing is that young adults move for work, probably half the kids any given church is baptizing is the first contact that church has had with that family, because they're new-ish in town and went to find a church when baptizing needed to happen. This is a very normal time to look for a church! Pastors expect it!

The one spot you may have a problem is godparents. As noted upthread, you can typically have a godparent and a sponsor, rather than two godparents, but most churches do require the godparent to be a Trinitarian Christian. Almost all of the Trinitarian churches (Catholic, Methodist, Anglican, Orthodox, Lutheran, etc.) recognize each others' baptisms and don't rebaptize. Many Trinitarian churches will allow you to choose a godparent from another Trinitarian church (in practice, almost all of them; pastors aren't that interested in litigating church membership of godparents). However, Mormons aren't Trinitarian, and their baptisms aren't recognized by Trinitarian churches (and they don't recognize Trinitarian baptisms). And Pagans are, well, not Christian of any flavor. (Although maybe Trinitarian! But one imagines a different Trinity.)

So you'll want to discuss it with the pastor who will be doing the baptism -- I'd have a Christian godparent in mind in case they're needed. Your aunt who gave you the gown might be an option (depending on the rules). Here are your likely options:

1) Pastor asks if your friends (who I will call M and P, for Mormon and Pagan) would raise your child Lutheran (or whatever), and you can honestly say that they would, and the pastor says fine. (My BFF is Jewish, and is a baptismal sponsor of my oldest child. I'm Catholic (and have a degree in liturgy and edited a book on baptismal theology, I know the official rules), and the priest asked me a few questions and asked if she would ensure the child was raised Catholic if I died or whatever, and I could tell him quite honestly, yes, she understands my faith and its importance to me and I can hardly think of anyone I would trust more to ensure that happened. And he said great, and so my Catholic kid has a Jewish godparent.)

2) Pastor requires you to have one Christian godparent (C) and allows one or several sponsors, in which case M and P can be sponsors (or at least one of them can). Some churches restrict the number of godparents/sponsors; others don't.

3) Pastor does not require any godparents at all -- many Protestant denominations don't require them. In some churches it's traditional but not required; in others you hardly see godparents ever. In this case, they may (or may not!) encourage sponsors/supporters, any and all, to participate to show their support and commitment for the child, in which case M and P (and any other relatives and friends you invite) could participate in that bit.

Some pastors/churches definitely do check on the churchgoing status of proposed godparents (I belonged to a parish that would call other parishes to find out of the proposed Catholic godparent was on the parish rolls, that seemed a little excessive to me!), but most do not. Most denominations are not very strict about who can serve, and most pastors prefer to have you choose the people important in your life who will support your child in the long term rather than get all rules-lawyery about people's religious status.

You definitely will need to call ahead and arrange it. Some churches require a class, usually a couple of hours one Saturday or one evening. Infant-baptizing churches are typically scheduling about four to six weeks out for baptisms -- they can definitely fit you in sooner, it's a sacrament! -- but in terms of scheduling, expect to be looking at 4 to 6 weeks at the soonest (and as far out as you want to go at the latest). I always had my conversations with the priest when I was pregnant and got on the radar and then just called the church a week or two after the baby was born to schedule a date about a month later. You will obviously want to time your baptizing for when the baby fits in the dress! (This is a totally normal reason to time a baptism, lots of people have heirloom dresses and so limited windows.)

The up-to-the-minute thing liturgically is definitely baptizing during Sunday services, but this varies hugely from church to church and depends on things like font placement, congregation size, congregation tolerance for an extra ten minutes of church in the middle of church, service times, and the pastor's preference. A lot of pastors theologically prefer to baptize during services, but do it separately anyway because babies have no manners and it's frustrating and exhausting for everyone if the family has to wrestle a fretful baby for 45 minutes of church, then baptize him while he HOWLS because he's hungry and pissed, and then listen to him scream so loud he drowns out the rest of the service because he just got thrown in the water. (In terms of font placement, some churches are built with the font in a separate room or chapel, from when that was in vogue, and so baptisms are always a separate service; and sometimes having the font open during a full service is a safety hazard because of where it's located, especially if it's full-immersion.) A separate baptism service is quite often right after the regular service, when the church has emptied out, or may be on a weekday. You can do them bing-bang-boom five minutes and out, but typically it'll take 20-30 minutes.

You will want to clarify with the pastor if he will pour water over the baby's head, or do full immersion. If full immersion, most people remove the heirloom dresses for the immersing part. (The church may have tiny baby smocks for that part!) You certainly don't have to, but most people want the dress nice for pictures after. You'll also want a spare diaper for a quick change! Many pastors suggest feeding the baby about 20 minutes before the ceremony -- long enough to get their burps out, but close enough that they'll be full and relatively calm.

When you pick a church, feel free to memail me and tell me the denomination, and I can send you the baptism service for that denomination, and possibly share some pointers (depending on what denomination you choose).
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:31 PM on January 25, 2018 [11 favorites]

If you or your partner are from an ethnic background that has a particular denomination associated with it, the people there may treat baptism even by non-churchgoers as important for the larger ethnic community.

In our case, my wife is of Hungarian/Romanian descent, and the local Hungarian Reformed church understood that we might not ever be churchgoers there, but recognized the value in giving a child of Hungarian descent a Hungarian church baptism. It was nice for us, too, as we satisfied the need/want from the religious folks in the family to see our son baptized, while being able to look on it as more of a Hungarian cultural thing than a religious thing.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:02 AM on January 26, 2018

I wore my great-grandmother’s fine cotton 1914 wedding dress when I got married in 2002. It had gotten very yellow and had bad pit stains. I soaked it in the bathtub in a fairly weak solution of oxiclean for 8 hours or so. It came out sparkling white.
posted by leahwrenn at 8:56 AM on January 26, 2018 [2 favorites]

Again on the garment, if you go the bathtub cleaning route, just be cautious when lifting the wet garment out of the bath. I just recently washed my window sheers in the bath with Woolite and after being ever so careful, I got careless and lifted in the wrong place and one tore from the weight.

A child's garment should be less cumbersome than a 90" sheer but just be extra careful as wet cloth is heavier than you expect. Good luck!
posted by vunder at 3:36 PM on January 26, 2018

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