Daniel and Michelle Townsend of Clinton, Mississippi welcomed a new addition to their family on Thursday, August 15. Kenneth Jackson Townsend was born at 4:01 p.m., weighing 7 pounds and 6 ounces and being a 20 inches long. Grandparents are Lane and Janice Townsend of Kosciusko, Opal Joines of Sparta, North Carolina.
The baby will go by “Jack”, as a tribute to C.S. Lewis who all his life was known among friends and family as Jack. Jack’s first name, Kenneth, is in honor of Daniel’s brother, Kenneth Townsend. Jack was welcomed into the family by older sister, Amarantha Joy Townsend, age 2. On August 24, Jacks’s grandfather, Rev. Lane Townsend, baptized him at the Belhaven University Prayer Room. Below is the liturgy used for the ceremony.
Liturgy for baptism of Kenneth Jackson Townsend:
We’re gathered here today to celebrate the baptism of Kenneth Jackson Townsend, the son of Dan and Michelle Townsend. In the gospels, we see that Jesus had a special regard for babies and little children. In Mark 10:14-16 we read, “Jesus said, ‘Allow the little children to come to me! Don’t forbid them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Most certainly I tell you, whoever will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child, he will in no way enter into it.’ He took them in his arms, and blessed them, laying his hands on them.” In Matthew 18:3, 10-11, and 14, Jesus said, “Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven… Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven, their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven… Even so, it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”
In Matthew 28:19, Jesus commanded his disciples, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you.”
The Heidelberg Catechism * says, “Both redemption from sin through the blood of Christ and the gift of faith from the Holy Spirit are promised to… children no less than their parents.” (* Question 74)
Therefore, in bringing Jack for baptism today, the intention is to express that the family desires for Jack to know the Lord personally and be raised in a Christ-honoring way.
2. Opening prayer, ending with the Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
3. The Baptism:
Kenneth Jackson Townsend, I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
4. The recitation of the Apostle’s Creed
“Let us confess the truths we believe, the truths we long for Jack to embrace. May God grant him faith to believe the truth of the gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
We believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only-begotten Son our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day, he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From there he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Amen.
5. A collect written by C.S. Lewis (p. 177, Yours, Jack; HarperOne, 2008):
“Almighty God, who are the Father of lights and has promised by thy dear Son that all who do thy will shall know thy doctrine: give us grace so to live that by daily obedience we daily increase in faith and in the understanding of thy Holy Word, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
6. Closing song: “He Knows My Name”
“Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Good Shepherd who delights in small children and gently leads those that are with young. We thank you for your marvelous mercy. You have granted us the gift of a healthy child, and we cannot praise you enough for your lovingkindness. You have guided the physician, given us strength during the pregnancy and delivery, and sustained us until now. Give us a grateful heart every day of our lives, and let us be the kind of parents who will please you. Keep us conscious at all times of the holy trust placed in us by the gift of this child, Jack, and help us to bring our child up in your fear and favor. Send your guardian angels to watch over Jack from all danger of body and soul. Bless those who will help us care for our child. Take Jack into your kingdom and give him an inheritance with all your saints. You who have given life to our child, be our Good Shepherd and lead us in paths pleasing to you.
“Dear Lord Jesus, who was once a little child, we thank you for the gift of our children, Jack and Joy. Make us always aware of our responsibility as Christian parents. You have entrusted to us the bodily and, especially, the spiritual welfare of our children. Bless our efforts to raise Jack and Joy in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. In your mercy, be near them at all times to guide, protect, support, and comfort them. As in the days of your ministry when you called the little children to you, even so let our children hear your kind and beckoning voice through your Gospel. Make them strong to do your will. Help Jack and Joy to continue firm in faith in you and in love toward one another. Increase their prayer life. Let their conduct be a shining example that will lead others to know and love you. Bless our son, Jack, and our daughter, Joy, and make them a blessing to all who know them. Finally, at the end of their lives, make them members of your family in heaven. In your Name we ask it. Amen.
* Click here to view a video of Jack's baptism.