Church Renewal: The Shape of the Baptismal Font

Carmel Bulletin, 27 September 2015

Church Renewal ProcessFr Paul is currently sharing with everyone the design concept for the renewal of our church.  One feature of this design is the provision of a new fixed, dignified space for the celebration of baptism.

For if we have been united with [Christ Jesus] in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (Romans 6:5)

Baptismal font, Cathedral of Christ the Light, Oakland (California, USA; photo by Kenny Phung on flickr)
(photo by Daniel Kedinger on flickr)
Photo 30-04-12 12 30 35 AM
Baptismal font, Salisbury Anglican Cathedral (England)

Baptismal fonts have been formed in different shapes over the course of history, each revealing something of our belief in baptism being a sharing in the death and resurrection of Christ.

Round baptismal fonts are symbolic of the womb and remind us that through baptism, we are reborn into new life with Christ.  Square or rectangular fonts seek to evoke the image of the tomb; they teach us that sharing in the resurrection of Christ comes only through sharing in his death. Cruciform (cross-shaped) fonts also illustrate how our sharing in Jesus’ death leads to salvation and glory.

Baptismal Font and Paschal Candle
(photo by Alan Creech on flickr)

Another shape that has a long tradition in the design of baptismal fonts is the octagon.  The eight-sided shape is used as a direct reference to the eighth day which is Sunday, the Lord’s Day – the day of the resurrection.  Our proposed octagonal-shaped font with round bowl will be fabricated in stone and metal to specifically relate to the original design plans for the church, and to the proposed design of the altar and ambo.

You can read and view more about the design concept in the parish centre and at

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