Your child’s baptism
We’re delighted you’re thinking of baptism for your child. Your child is precious to you and precious to God. At Baptism you promise to raise your child to know God loves them, and to help them to follow Jesus as a member of the Church.
We hope this leaflet gives you the initial information you need. If you would like to arrange a baptism please contact Revd Annie. One of the parish ministers will arrange to visit you at home to discuss the service and appropriate dates.
You can be baptised at any age, but most of this leaflet refers particularly to small children – see below for adult baptism.
Baptism is the official name of the service. Christening is the traditional English word for the same service, and means ‘to make Christ’s’.
There is also a service of Thanksgiving for the gift of a child. In this service you thank God for the gift of your child and the child is blessed. However you do not make the same promises as in the baptism service. You can then have a baptism for your child at a later date.
Fees We make no charge for baptism but there is an opportunity for you to make a contribution towards the cost of running the church, and a charity.
Who can be baptised here?
If you live in the parish you are entitled to be baptised or to have your children baptised.
You do not have to be a regular church-goer, although it is a good idea to attend a family service at least once or twice before the baptism.
If you live outside these parishes but have a strong association with the church here, we can usually arrange the baptism, but ask that you inform your local vicar as a courtesy. In these cases we hope you will ensure your child has opportunities to join your local church.
Godparents –there is no fixed number – but the convention has been three (two of the same sex as the child). There is a minimum of two.
As godparents make promises concerning the Christian upbringing, it is essential they are baptised (ideally at least one should be a Confirmed member of the Church of England). Choose people you trust to take an interest in your child’s spiritual welfare and will pray for them. We will provide a leaflet for each of them so they are aware of their role during the service and afterwards.
The service takes place within a Sunday service so that the congregation can welcome your child into the family of the church.
The whole service lasts about an hour. You and the god-parents publicly promise to do your best to raise your child to follow Jesus. The local church welcome your child and promise to encourage and pray for them, and you as parents.During the service there will be songs suitable for children, a bible reading and a short talk.
For the baptism itself, the priest asks you and the godparents to declare your Christian faith and make promises on behalf of your child. Then you bring your child to the font, and they are baptised in water – symbolizing them being washed clean and beginning a new life with God. The priest will also make the sign of the cross on your child’s forehead – this is an invisible sign to show Christians are united with Jesus Christ. At the end of the baptism your child will be given a certificate, a gospel from the Bible, and a special baptism candle.
Photographs Please feel free to take photos inside the church before and after the service, but we ask you not to take photos during the service itself.
There is no age limit of baptism – Jesus himself was baptised in his 30s. Whilst the service is almost identical, adults don’t need god-parents and will make promises for themselves. However, we do encourage people to have a sponsor or friend – a Christian believer – at the service.
To help you think through what Christian faith stands for, one of our ministers will invite you to come for a brief meeting – usually less than an hour, and to discuss what baptism means for you and how the church can help – and also to explain the baptism service.
Most people getting baptised as adults are thinking carefully about faith issues. We encourage you to consider being confirmed in your faith. Services of Confirmation, led by the Bishop, are held each year and we offer a course of informal discussions to prepare people to reaffirm their faith or be confirmed.
Sometimes we are joined by people who want to revisit the fundamentals of faith, often after many years at Church.
How the Church can help
There isn’t much point in being part of a family and never getting together with them! Here are some ways you can help your child make a link:
- We have a Family Service in our church on the 4th Sunday (see the SERVICES tab), with songs & activities involving the children. There are also special services at Christmas and other times during the year and creative events at Advent and Good Friday
- Our Local Schools– our local primary school has a strong Christian ethos (see the ALL SAINTS Tab) and holds regular assemblies, and church services. We have a team offering Open the Book bible stories in some of the schools. We value the strong links between the church and the school.