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Christian Initiation

Becoming a Christian

In the countries of Christian tradition and background, many Christians were baptized when they were infants and grew up in a Christian family. Things change nowadays, and more people become a Christian through conversion and adult Baptism on their free will, especially in those countries of non-Christian tradition.

Only very few people decide to become a Christian without a prior cause. The conversion of many people is a long journey, which probably first starts with one's curiosity about Jesus, followed by the encounter with Him and finally to respond to His call and join the worshipping community, the church.

For some, their conversion may take another route starting with their knowledge of the Church limited to some church activities that they have taken part with their children or friends, or have their friends who are Christians. Gradually, they would like to become a member of the church.

If you would like to become a member of the church, what should you do?

First Time at Church

You may first take part in Sunday worship at a church with a Christian friend. Some churches provide light refreshments after the service, where congregation members mingle with each other and welcome visitors. It is an opportunity to let our ministers and church members to know you well; or if they do not notice you, you are encouraged to approach them for introducing yourself to them.

Have You Been Baptized Before?

People who seldom go to church may be baptized already when they were infants. People who were baptized at one church are not required to be baptized again if they decide to join another church because there is only one Baptism during a life.

If one is not sure whether he/she was baptized, it is better to check with his/her parents or elderly relatives and obtain a copy of the Baptism Certificate from the relevant church, then attend the Sunday worship and the fellowship meetings.

Members of Other Denominations

We welcome you if you are from another church and wish to be a member of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui. If you were baptized but not yet confirmed, you will be confirmed by a bishop by laying his hands on you and become a member of us. If you were confirmed, then you will be received to the Sheng Kung Hui with a simple liturgy of welcome. Those who are not baptized are required to take part in catechesis with other catechumens before the Baptism.

Becoming a Christian through Baptism

Baptism is the initiation of becoming Christian in the Church. In the period of early Church, believers were baptized in Easter, and before that they had to receive the teaching of Holy Bible, confess their sins, and affirm their faith in Jesus Christ, who cleansed the faults of all mankind by his death in the cross, and gave new life to his believers. Baptism was usually held on the Holy Saturday before Easter Sunday in a river where the candidates were immersed in water signifying the death of their old self.

The Sacrament of Confirmation, the laying on of hands and blessing by a bishop, is originally held with Baptism. By doing so, the newly baptized candidates may have their faith being strengthened, and filling up by the Holy Spirit. In the joyful Easter Sunday, the newly baptized and confirmed are then welcomed by the church members to be new members in the body of Christ, and receive their First Communion.

As a whole, Baptism, Confirmation and First Communion are together the liturgy of Initiation.

Adult Baptism

If you wish to join us, please to contact our ministers in the nearby parish or missionary church who would explain you in details about Baptism. Each parish may have slightly difference in its own practice about Baptism but all run catechesis and confirmation classes.

Baptism at most churches are held at baptismal font. The officiating minister pours water over the candidate's head and makes a sign of cross on the forehead of the candidate. But in some of our churches, they follow the tradition of early church, having a baptismal pool for the liturgy of Baptism.

Regardless the form of Baptism, the candidate must make the decision to follow Christ, to repent the sins and to come to Christ. The candidate makes the public profession of believing in Christ. The officiating minister calls the name of the candidate first and baptizes him/her in the fashion of the teaching in the Bible in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. If Baptism takes place at any ordinary Sunday service, the service continues after the Baptism. If Baptism and Confirmation are held at the same service, the candidates are confirmed immediately after the Baptism and receive the First Communion.


Child's Baptism

St. Paul said: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9) What he tried to say is that the real salvation does not depend entirely on human confession, but on God's grace. It is because of His grace that we may believe. Therefore, a child's Baptism depends on God's grace that accepts him/her to the family of the church. Needless to say that it is also the responsibility of the church to nurture the baptized children to become mature Christians.

It is naturally that children cannot make the declaration of following Christ at their Baptism. Thus it is the responsibility of their parents and godparents to make the declaration on their behalf. Many parents ask their friends to be the godparents of the children to be baptized. Between them, they share the responsibility of nurturing the baptized children to become Christians. When the baptized children grow up, they will make the declaration for themselves at the Confirmation. According to the tradition of Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, there must be at least three godparents who are adult members of the Church, two of the same sex of the child to be baptized and one of the opposite sex. Discretion may be exercised in special circumstances.

In the old days, the Church attached great importance to godparents. Should the baptized child's parents passed away, the godparents would look after the child. The tradition lives on in today's Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, which stresses the importance of nurturing the spirituality of baptized children. In the Book of Common Prayer, godparents "must remember, that it is their parts and duties to see that this Infant be taught in …all other things which a Christian ought to know and believe to his soul's health…to take care that this Child be brought to the Bishop to be confirmed by him…."

A child's Baptism may run like the following: Parents and godparents together with the child to be baptized are usually be asked by the officiating minister to gather around the font. The minister will ask them to declare publicly on behalf of the child that they believe in God and that they will bring the child up to follow Jesus. They will also be asked to answer, on the child's behalf, that they have decided to turn away from everything which is evil or sinful and instead to turn towards Christ. The baptismal water will then be blessed by the minister who will pour water over the head of the child and say: "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." The pouring of water over the child's head reminds us Baptism held in river in early Church. Baptism in original Greek means washing and immersing, which symbolizes Christ takes away the sins of the candidate and unites with him/her in Christ's death and resurrection.

The officiating minister signs the cross on the child's forehead. This is like an invisible badge to show that Christians are united with Christ and must not be ashamed to stand up for their faith in Him. A lighted candle will be given at the end of the Baptism as a reminder of the light which has come into the child's life. Sometimes, the officiating minister may anoint the child with oil. The minister will say some formal words of welcome to acknowledge that the child has joined the Church and the congregation will also show how pleased they are to the child among them.


When Christians was baptized as a child, as all Christians did in the old days, their parents and godparents were asked to declare publicly on their behalf that they believed in God and that they would bring the child up to follow Jesus. At Confirmation, the grown-up child will renew these decisions and promises. The child can only receive the Holy Communion after Confirmation.

Changes to the traditional concept have emerged in modern time, more and more people believe that children can receive Holy Communion but will renew the decisions and promises at a later day when they are 18 or 19 years old.

There is a standard service of Confirmation for cradle and adult Christians.

The confirming bishop will exhort those to be confirmed about their responsibility as an adult Christian. They will reaffirm their Baptismal faith. The confirming bishop will pray for the Holy Spirit to rest upon them. Those to be confirmed then come forward in pairs to kneel before the bishop who will lay his hand on the head of each and say: "Confirm, O Lord, your servant with your Holy Spirit."

Sometimes, the confirming bishop will use an ancient prayer saying: "Defend, O Lord, this thy Servant with thy heavenly grace, that he may continue thine for ever; and daily increase in thy Holy Spirit more and more, until he come unto thy everlasting kingdom. Amen." Then the bishop will say the Commission with responses from the congregation.

Holy Communion will be held after this point of the Confirmation service where the newly-confirmed receive the bread and wine, the body and blood of Christ.

Universal Church

The newly-baptized and confirmed Christians join not a particular parish or a church or Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui but a universal church not limited by time and space.