Is sprinkling the only way that United Methodists baptize?
Our church has always offered to people being baptized and to the parents of infants the choice of sprinkling, pouring, or immersion. Sprinkling is a common practice, but the person being baptized (or their sponsors) can choose the method most meaningful to them.
We believe that "the power of the Spirit in baptism does not depend upon the mode by which water is administered, the age or psychological disposition of the baptized person, or the character of the minister. It is God's grace that makes the sacrament whole." (By Water and the Spirit)
"United Methodists may baptize by any of the modes used by Christians. Candidates or their parents have the choice of sprinkling, pouring, or immersion; and pastors and congregations should be prepared to honor requests for baptism in any of these modes. Each mode brings out part of the rich and diverse symbolism given to baptism by the Bible. Each is a form of washing which symbolizes the washing away of sin (Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Hebrews 10:22; 1 Peter 3:21). Being totally buried in water and raised from it is also a powerful symbol of our burial and resurrection with Christ (Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12) and of being born anew of water and the Spirit (John 3:3-5; Titus 3:5). Pouring or sprinkling water upon the candidate's head also signifies God's pouring out of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:9-10: Luke 3:21-22; Acts 2:38; 19:1-7)."
(From The United Methodist Book of Worship, Copyright 1992, The United Methodist Publishing House)
"Throughout our history, Methodism has offered adults and parents of infants the choice of three modes-sprinkling, pouring, and immersion. In the absence of scriptural information on the subject, we believe that baptisms in the early church were probably conducted in a variety of styles. Although it is common among some groups to insist that Jesus was baptized by immersion, there is no clear evidence to this effect. Descriptions of Jesus and others going into or coming out of the water may simply refer to their stepping off from and back onto the shore. Indeed, the very early use of a shell as a symbol of baptism offers evidence that water may have been poured over the head of an individual who was standing in or being held over water. All three traditional modes have rich symbolic value."
(From By Water and The Spirit: Making Connections for Identity & Ministry by Gayle Carlton Felton)