Gift of life
Welcoming a new child into your home is always a very precious moment, a time when we reflect on our lives and the values important to us and our families. Baptism can be part of this as we ask God to enfold our children in his love.
As a parish we want to welcome those who come to us seeking the baptism of their children knowing how important it is today to know that we belong and are part of a community.
In baptism, you as parents are thanking God for his gift of life, deciding to start your child on the journey of faith and asking for the Church’s support.
Journey of faith
For your child, baptism marks the start of a journey of faith, which involves turning away from the darkness of self-centredness, turning towards Christ and becoming a member of the local and worldwide Christian family.
Baptism is a ‘sacrament’: a visible sign of God’s love. In baptism, we thank God for his gift of life and publicly acknowledging his love. We are acknowledging that we all need to turn away from the darkness of evil and to make a new start with God.
Baptisms usually take place on a Sunday at 1 p.m. at Christ Church and at 12.30 p.m. at St. Mary’s. In some circumstances they can be held with one of our regular services.
When you bring your child for baptism, you will be asked to declare publicly on behalf of your child that you believe in God and that you will bring your child up to follow Jesus.
You will be asked to answer on your child’s behalf, that you have decided to turn away from everything which is evil or sinful and to turn instead towards Christ.
The declarations made by you and the child’s godparents will be made in front of the church congregation. The congregation will promise to support you and pray for you and your child.
We will make sure you and your family and friends know where to sit and when you need to move. Some parts of the service will be for the whole congregation to join, some will be for you and the godparents.
For the baptism itself, parents and godparents will be asked to gather either at the front of the church to make declarations on behalf of the child and then move to the font.
A number of important symbols will be used during the service itself:
- The sign of the cross
the priest will make the sign of the cross on your child’s forehead. This is like an invisible badge to show that Christians are united with Christ and must not be ashamed to stand up for their faith in him.
the priest will pour water on your child’s head. Water is a sign of washing and cleansing. In baptism it is a sign of being washed free from sin and beginning a new life with God.
after baptism in water, the priest will anoint the child with oil. This is a sign of the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit.
- The welcome
the church congregation will say some formal words of welcome to acknowledge that your child has joined the Church and to show how pleased they are to have you among them.
Jesus is called the light of the world. You will be given a lighted candle, lit from the Easter candle, at the end of the service as a reminder of the light which has come into your child’s life.
Before the service one of the clergy will meet with you explain the service and the promises you will be making.
Baptism is also available for older children and adults; please speak to the clergy.
Baptisms can be arranged at 8 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month at Christ Church or if that time is impossible, please telephone Jan on 07941 525509, or email email@example.com or email or telephone one of the clergy to arrange a mutually convenient time.