Baptism (sometimes called Christening) is a very special service where you can be welcomed into the family of the church, either as a young child or as an adult. It is a time when we can make promises about our beliefs and the Christian life that we intend to follow.
Baptism is often the first step on our walk with God which continues for the rest of our lives. God loves us all and wants us to be part of the family of the church. For all those at the baptism, particularly the person being baptised, but also the parents and godparents, it is a joyful moment when we make serious promises and declare our faith.
It is also a joyful occasion for the whole church as we welcome the newly baptised and promise our support and prayers for the future. Taking part in a baptism provides an opportunity to remember your own baptism and think about your own faith.
Within the service there are lots of signs that remind us of Jesus. There is the sign of the cross made on the head of the person being baptised which reminds us of how Jesus died on a cross to save us from our sins. Our baptism is with water through which we believe we are forgiven our sins and are raised to new life, a reminder that Jesus rose again. The person baptised will also be given a lighted candle, to show us that the light of Christ conquers the darkness of evil. All those who are baptised walk in his light for the rest of their lives.
The birth or adoption of a child is a cause for celebration. Many people are overcome by a sense of awe at the creation of new life and want to express their thanks to God. This service provides an opportunity for parents and families to give thanks for the birth or adoption of a child and to pray for family life. It may be a private celebration at home or in hospital, or it may be a public celebration in church, sometimes with a number of children.
Which service is right for me ?
The thanksgiving service, as its name implies, is a special service that gives you an opportunity to express thanks to God for the gift of your child, to ask for his blessing and to pray for his help as parents. You can ask people to act as sponsors. This is a similar role to that of godparent. Thanksgiving is different from a baptism in that no water is used, and the parents do not have to commit themselves explicitly to Jesus Christ and to participating in the life and worship of the church. Thanksgiving could be a good option if you're at all uncertain about making the baptism promises. It can always be followed by baptism at a later date when you have seen more of the church's life and been able to give the baptism promises more thought.
The service of Baptism is one in which the parents and the godparents stand up in church on a Sunday and make clear statements about their Christian faith. They must say that they 'turn to Christ', that they 'repent of their sins', and that they 'renounce evil'. They must also say that they believe and trust in God the Father who made the world, in Jesus Christ who redeemed mankind, and in His Holy Spirit who helps the people of God.
It is therefore a service in which parents declare that they have a strong commitment to follow Jesus and live each day by His teachings, praying often to Him and trusting Him for everything. They are promising to teach their children to do the same and to be an example in this to them. They are taking on a duty to bring their child to a church to Sunday School and to be part of anything else the church may offer children.
How much does it cost?
There is no charge for either service – there is a collection during the service as an opportunity to contribute to the work of the Church.
How many godparents?
Baptism : It is usual to have three godparents, two of the same sex as the person being baptised and one of the opposite sex. Parents can be godparents to their own children providing there is at least one other person.
Thanksgiving : No limit
Do godparents have to be baptised and confirmed?
Baptism : Yes. Church law requires that godparents should be baptised and confirmed, but the requirements of confirmation can be relaxed in certain cases.
Thanksgiving : No.
How old do you have to be to be baptised?
There is no upper age limit for baptism. We are pleased to welcome anyone who is not baptised to consider this.
When do the services take place?
Usually both services take place as part of the main 10am service on the Third Sunday of the month. We usually limit the number of baptisms to three each month - a date can be fixed in discussion with one of the ministers.
What happens next?
If you would like to proceed with either service then please come along to one of services to discuss things with a minister - we look forward to meeting you.