Baptism for a young child is often called christening – the meaning is the same. In Baptism a child (or an adult) is welcomed as a member of the church, and from that day onwards will be known as a Christian. When a young child is baptised the parents and the godparents make promises on behalf of the child. Firstly they promise to bring up the child within the Christian faith, by setting them the right examples, by bringing them to church in the future, by teaching about Jesus, and by praying for them. The parents and godparents are then asked to make the promises of the Christian faith on behalf of their child, in believing and following Jesus Christ. The child is signed with the sign of the cross on their forehead, is baptised with the water, and is given a special lighted candle as a sign of God’s love.
Arranging your service
Because of the nature of the promises, and the welcome the child is given into the church, a baptism service is always held in church on a Sunday.
It may be held within the main parish service, or later on Sunday morning (usually about 12 – 12.30). The vicar will discuss with you as to which you would like, and which would be most appropriate.
Please indicate on the form the month that you would like to have your service, and the vicar will phone you to discuss dates and times. We will try to fit around your requests as far as possible, but there are sometimes other events happening in church, and because we are part of a group of 4 churches the vicar has other commitments each Sunday which will affect her availability.
The service usually lasts 35 – 40 minutes.
We always like to make each baptism service special and personal for you and your child. There is the opportunity during the service for a member of the family, godparent or friend to say some words, or read a poem or reading of your choice. You may like to have a hymn or song during the service. If you have older children, we love them to be involved in the service as a way of remembering their own baptism. The vicar will discuss these things with you when you meet.
It is usual to choose 3 godchildren for each child. These may be good friends or relatives, whom you respect and whom you wish to be part of your child’s future. The godparents promise to help bring up the child in the Christian faith and for this reason it is necessary that they are already baptised, though it does not matter which denomination of the church this is.
Is there a charge?
There is no official fee for a baptism, as it is a service of welcome of your child to the church. We ask that you consider giving a donation to the church, as all of our church running costs need to come from donations and fund raising. A usual donation for a baptism service is around £50. There will also be a collection plate at the back of the church for any of the congregation who would like to leave a donation.
What happens next?
Please fill in the Baptism Enquiry form, and return it to our parish administrator. Please include landline, mobile and email address.
The vicar will then contact you to discuss the date and time for your service. Throughout the year we hold baptism preparation afternoons – for all the family and children to come to – and we will let you know the next date so that you can plan to come. During that time we will look at the meaning of the service and how to make it personal and special for your family.
A Service of Thanksgiving and Blessing.
As an alternative to baptism, some families may prefer a simpler service, in which we give thanks to God for the gift of your child and ask God’s special blessing, but without the commitment of the full baptism service. In this case your child can choose to be baptised later in life if they wish, The service can be just as much a celebration with all of your family, and you can include any readings, prayers, etc that will be personal for you. If yhis might be of interest to you please discuss it with the vicar.