Water instead of wine

It is significantly taller than the communion cup, beautifully engraved, and it will not be placed on the altar in every divine service: the baptismal chalice which the New Apostolic Church USA has just introduced.

Starting this year, a unique baptismal chalice will be introduced in the congregations in the United States. All 207 locations will receive such a chalice, the Church administrative offices say. District Apostle Leonard R. Kolb is following a practice that he saw in other New Apostolic churches when he was travelling, Kimberly Kolb-Heinzelmann explains. He approached the Chief Apostle with this idea, and production began last year.

A unique chalice for Holy Baptism

Holy Baptism is one of the three sacraments of the New Apostolic Church. “The thought was: why not have a special chalice set aside for this holy sacrament?” Kolb-Heinzelmann commented the considerations that led to this innovation.

The idea to introduce a baptismal chalice was approved by the Apostles and Bishops in meetings last year. At the 2018 National Synod, District Apostle Kolb introduced it to the district leaders and then published it in the Church’s newsletter, Vision, to inform all members.

Proper dispensation: water and the word

“The two essential elements of Holy Baptism with water are the water and the Trinitarian formula: ‘I baptise you in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.’” This is how the Catechism of the New Apostolic Church (CNAC 8.1.4) describes the two essential aspects of this sacramental act.

How the water is to be presented is not specified. In many congregations it is poured into a dish, a paten, or also into a communion cup and is then consecrated. Some churches even have a baptismal font. Some are set up especially for a divine service with baptism, others are permanently installed in the church hall. To date, congregations in the USA used a communion cup for the baptismal water.

A close relationship with God

“Holy Baptism with water is the first and fundamental act of grace of the triune God bestowed on a human being who believes in Jesus Christ. Through it, original sin is washed away and the believer is led out of his position of remoteness from God” (CNAC 8.1). Thereby a human being is led into his first close relationship with God. He becomes a Christian and is also incorporated into the church, that is, into the fellowship of those who believe in Jesus Christ and profess Him as their Lord.

Baptism: something very special

The baptismal chalice will only be placed on the altar when the sacrament of Holy Baptism will be administered to signal that a new believer will be received into the Church (New Apostolic Church USA, newsletter Vision, winter edition).

Taller than the communion chalice, chrome exterior, and gold-coloured interior, the baptismal chalice is quite impressive. And it will signal to the congregation that today is a special day.

Photo: NAC USA

Article info


Oliver Rütten
USA, sacraments, Holy Baptism, Divine service