Preaching Baptism

A Practical Guide

James Bradley Shumard

Jul/2023, 208 Pages, PAPERBACK, 6 x 9

ISBN-13: 9781640656369



A guide to communicating the power and significance of baptism.

Although the sacrament of baptism is central to Christian experience, it is usually only discussed in many churches when a baptism happens to be occurring. In Preaching Baptism, priest and noted preacher James Bradley Shumard identifies ways to reinforce baptismal values in the weekly liturgy, from the pulpit in sermons, as well as from other teaching moments in the liturgy. Including chapters on preaching about baptism across the church year, connecting the lectionary to baptism, baptismal vows, and more, this volume offers guidance to clergy in keeping baptismal vocation at the core in every Sunday's sermon.

JAMES BRADLEY SHUMARD is an Episcopal priest who has served congregations in Georgia and Wyoming for over twenty-five years. He has led a variety of seminars on baptism and has served on church-wide and diocesan committees on Christian education. Shumard holds degrees from Rhodes College, the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, Episcopal Divinity School, and Sewanee School of Theology. He lives in Casper, Wyoming.


Why This Book and Why Baptism?

  1. Baptism Is a Lifelong Journey
  2. Baptismal Preaching: Themes from the Catechumenate, Confirmation, and the Reaffirmation of the Baptismal Vows
  3. Baptismal Vows
  4. A Quick Guide for Ordinary Sundays with Baptismal Themes as Found in Readings from the Revised Common Lectionary
  1. Seasonal Preaching and Preaching for Special Occasions
  2. The Service of Holy Baptism
  3. Architecture and Accoutrements
  4. Preaching and Teaching Moments
  5. The History of Baptism
  6. Conclusion

Appendix A
The Question of Open Communion

Appendix B
Sample Baptismal Sermons



About the Author

"As promised, Shumard focuses on preaching, reviewing the Revised Common Lectionary through the lens of baptism. This valuable resource overflows with opportunities for preaching baptismal themes." – Dr. Fredrica Harris Thompsett, author of We Are Theologians and Living with History

"Preaching Baptism is an engaging invitation to live as followers of Christ infused with the sacred waters of baptism. Accessible to clergy and laity alike, Preaching Baptism is perfect for a retreat setting, adult forums, and personal enrichment. Full of practical and creative suggestions on incorporating the importance of baptism into weekly worship, Rev. Shumard illustrates the life-giving relevance of our baptismal vows. His is a timely book with transformative power." – The Rt. Rev. Paul-Gordon Chandler, Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Wyoming and Founder of CARAVAN Arts

"Shumard challenges us to live and preach baptism beyond those Sundays we perform the sacrament. Prepare to dust off the font and adjust the church bulletin for a more embodied experience of living into our baptismal vows each week. This practical guide is helpful for anyone who desires a fresh, reimagined approach to worship." – The Rev. Canon Dr. Dennis G. Campbell, retired Canon to the Ordinary of the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas

"An extremely well-written and informative book that will hold your attention from the first page. I learned of the deeper meanings of baptism and experienced revelations throughout each chapter. This is an important and fascinating read. As a layperson, I would recommend this book to anyone seeking clarification about the meaning and ritual of baptism, whether you are a casual reader or a member of the clergy." – Jeanne Miller, Congregant

"As a parishioner at St. Mark’s during Father Shumard’s time here, I have had a baptismal epiphany. Repeated recitation has let me come to understand that the still valid two millennia old Nicene Creed lets us express what we believe, while the Baptismal Vows have such deep meaning that they are a prescription for Christian living. The Vows are what we commit to actively do with our lives." – Steve Kurtz, Congregant

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