Baptisms

We hope that you enjoy exploring baptisms

Welcome

We are so happy that you are here! Hopefully, you will find loads of helpful information which will help you plan for the big day and answer any questions you might have. Baptism is available for anyone in the parish. Whether you are looking at baptism for yourself or you are trying to find out information for a baptism of a baby.

Below you will find What is a baptism? What actually happens in the service? How has the pandemic changed things? How do I choose a Godparent? What do I do as a godparent?

If you cannot find the information you are looking for here then please feel free to contact us.


How do I book a baptism?

We are so excited that you want to look at baptism with us. We would love to talk to you more.

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What is a baptism (also known as a Christening)?

Lots of people have probably heard about Christenings and look forward to having a good party to celebrate the arrival of a new child in the family. We want to join you in this amazing time in your life by helping make it especially joyful and significant. By looking at baptism for your child you are about to begin an exciting journey. Your child is precious to you and they are also precious to God.

Baptism is a special part of the service where we say thank you to God for the gift of your child and to start them on a journey of faith.

This is the start of a faith journey for your child. It is a special moment when you get to say that your child will grow up in the family of the church and in the knowledge of God.

What if I am looking for something which is not so religious?

We want to celebrate the birth of your child and if the baptism services seems a bit too much for you at this time then we can also offer a service of Thanksgiving. More information further down the page.

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What actually happens in the service?

Welcome

The vicar will welcome everyone and especially the child who will be baptised and their family. There will be a Bible reading and the vicar will also talk about what baptism means.

The Promises

The parents and the godparents will make some important promises for the child in the service. Mor details below.

The Sign

In many of our churches, a special oil may be used to make the sign of a cross on the child's forehead. It's a significant moment, which marks the child as belonging to God.

The vicar will say, "Christ claims you as his own. Receive the sign of the cross"

The Water

Was which is blessed in the church's font will be poured over the child's head by the vicar. It is a sign of new beginnings and becoming part of God's family.

The vicar says, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen."

Prayers

The vicar, or someone else from the church, will pray for the child and all those who will support them in the journey of faith. Everyone in the service also welcomes the child into the family of the church.

The Candle

A candle is lit and given for the child at the end of the baptism with the words, "...Shine as a light in the world to the glory of God".


How has the pandemic changed things?

Can we have a christening?

Yes, the Government has given permission for christenings to go ahead now, providing hygiene and social distancing guidelines are observed. The vicar will know all about this and will do everything they can to make it a special and safe service for all the family. Do get in touch with your vicar if you haven’t already, and they’d be delighted to talk everything through.


Will the church be hygienically clean?

Church staff and volunteers are working very hard to ensure church buildings are clean and safe for everyone. Social distancing measures will be observed, so listen to the vicar’s advice about what needs to happen on the day. As well as being specially cleaned, hand sanitiser will be freely available in the church to all who come in, and when they leave.


How many people can I invite to the service?

Check with your vicar, who will help you work out the numbers. It will depend on the church’s capacity and what has been decided is a safe number for public worship in that particular church.


Will there be music at the service?

Music can be played during usual Sunday worship services and at ceremonies. Talk to the vicar about music and they’ll be pleased to advise.


Will someone need to visit us at home before the service?

The purpose of a meeting before the service would be to help you all prepare for the christening and the promises that are going to be made, as well as talking you through what happens at the ceremony. The vicar may suggest an online meeting as the safest option, but meeting in the home is permitted if it’s necessary, and providing all hygiene and Government guidelines for working in the home are followed.


Will the vicar have to come into contact with my child to do the christening?

No. While social distancing measures are in place, the parents will hold the child over the font (or if the child is older, they will stand with their head just over the font) and the vicar will baptise the child with water using a shell or another kind of scoop. Baptism can also be done by wiping water on the child’s forehead and this could be done with a small clean cloth dipped in the holy water, or a cotton wool ball dampened with the holy water.

There is also a point during the service when the vicar anoints the child’s forehead by applying a touch of oil in the shape of a cross. They can do this using a clean cotton bud or something similar.


What can we do if our child’s Godparents aren’t able to attend because they live abroad or are shielding, or even suddenly have to go into isolation? Can they join in via Skype, Zoom or Facetime?

They can certainly join in the service via video link and make the promises, but two godparents must be physically present at the service.


What happens if anyone in the family falls ill with coronavirus or is ‘tracked and traced’ in the days leading up to the christening?

If the person is from a different household or social bubble to the child, their parents, and all the godparents who will be present, the person must not attend the christening, (which can still go ahead).

If the person is in the same household or social bubble as the child, parents, or the godparents who will be present, the christening must not go ahead and will need to be postponed so that all those involved can recover or self-isolate. The vicar will understand this and will do all they can to help you find another suitable date.


Will everyone have to wear face masks?

All worshippers, (apart from those who are exempt as described in current Government guidelines), should wear a face mask. The vicar may wear a mask, especially when gathered at the font, but is permitted to remove it for leading and preaching in the service.


We’ve had to wait to have our baby christened and we might wait a bit longer. Can they be christened when they are older?

Yes. A child or an adult can be baptised at any age.

How do I choose a godparent?

Choosing the right people as godparents for your child is a big decision. Here are some key things which might help you decide:


  • Godparents will be people who’ll be in touch with your family for many years to come. They may be relatives or friends of the family.

  • They’ll be people who you know you can trust and who’ll be there for your child to talk about the bigger questions in life; questions about faith, hope and love.

  • They should feel ready to make some big promises about faith for your child in church.

  • Every child should have at least three godparents, two of the same sex and at least one of the opposite sex to your child. Although there is no official maximum number of godparents, three or four is usual. If you’d like more than that, talk to your vicar about the practicalities and they’ll be pleased to advise.

  • Parents may be godparents for their own children, providing they have at least one other godparent.

  • Because of the very special role they have in supporting your child’s faith journey, godparents must be baptized themselves. Ideally, they should be confirmed too, but check with the vicar about local policy on this.

  • If you’re thinking about asking someone who is under 18 to be a godparent, talk to your vicar first. There’s no minimum age for godparents, but they must be mature enough to understand the responsibilities they’re taking on; your vicar can help you decide if this is the right choice for your child and the young godparent.


If you have any other questions then please feel free to get in touch.

What do I do as a godparent?

Godparents are among the most important people at a christening, who make big promises to encourage their godchild to grow in faith and commit to helping them understand how to live their life in a Christian way.


Alongside your godchild’s parents, you will

  • Give your time to your godchild to talk to about the bigger questions of life – questions about hope, faith and love.

  • Model and encourage them to develop Christian values – being kind and compassionate towards others, being generous towards others in need with time or money and standing against things in the world that cause injustice and suffering.

  • Pray for your godchild through the ups and downs of their life and their faith journey.

  • Show them practically how to make good choices in life, for themselves and for others. This might mean talking to them about how to stay healthy, how to resist temptations that can harm us and other people, how to care for God’s amazing world and how to handle peer pressure as they grow older.

  • Help them to learn more about the Christian faith, through their church and in other ways. Going to church with them, talking about what the Bible shows us and helping them learn how to pray are all brilliant ways to support your godchild.


It’s a demanding role, but help is always at hand, through your church, online, and of course from God, who will bless all you do to help your godchild.

Service of Thanksgiving

There is a special, but simple, service of thanksgiving, which is a lovely time when you can be with friends and family, ask for God’s blessing and pray for your baby. It’s different from a christening so read on to discover whether this is something to explore further with your local church.


This service is a special church service, different from a christening, but can be a great way to say thank you to God for your child.

It is called 'Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child and you can view the words of this service just here.


It’s possible to have this service instead of a christening if you decide that now isn’t the right time to have your child baptized. Or, you could even have the Thanksgiving service as well as a christening. You might also choose this service when your baby is just born, or if you have adopted a child into your family and you simply want to celebrate this with special words said by a vicar in church.


Whatever the reason, your vicar will be delighted to talk to you about this service.