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Baptisms & Thanksgivings

Our Baptism Information Pack can be downloaded here.

Information about a Service of Thanksgiving as an alternative to baptism can be found here.

What is Baptism?

  • baptism 1 shBaptism (or Christening) is the rite of entry into the Christian Church and for this reason the traditional place for the font is by the church door, although as at St Mary’s, many churches have been rearranged to make the font a more focal point.
  • Baptism is what the Church calls a ‘sacrament’ or in other words, “an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace”. That means it is far more than just a naming ceremony or an opportunity to give thanks for a new-born life, but an acknowledgement of God’s involvement in the candidate’s life (at whatever age) and a celebration of God’s saving activity as they grow in faith and Christian discipleship.
  • Baptism marks the beginning of a journey with God which continues for the rest of our lives, the first step in response to God’s love. For all involved, particularly the candidates but also parents, godparents and sponsors, it is a joyful moment when we rejoice in what God has done for us through Jesus.
  • Baptism involves a statement of faith and serious important promises are made either by the candidate themselves (if adults) or by their parents and godparents. The full text of the service is included in the Baptism Preparation Pack, available from the Parish Office.
  • photography by steve@imagepics.co.uk

    photography by steve@imagepics.co.uk

    Baptism is a partnership between parents and the Church because in welcoming children to baptism, the local Church commits itself to be the kind of church that will encourage its younger members and help them to worship and grow in faith.

  • Baptism is not the only option for your child and you may wish to consider a Service of Thanksgiving & Blessing instead. In this service there are no promises made, but we ask God’s blessing on the child at the beginning of their life. Sometimes this service is chosen as an alternative to Baptism, or in addition with the baptism taking place at a later date.

Baptism Services at St Mary’s

  • Colin and MollyEach month there are opportunities for Baptisms in our regular pattern of Sunday services.
  • On the second Sunday of every other month, baptisms are included in our 10am Sung Eucharist. This places baptism in its proper context, as it is about becoming part of the family of the Church. Those being baptised are formally (but warmly!) welcomed by the congregation, and the service includes Holy Communion and refreshments afterwards.
  • On the last Sunday of every month, baptisms take place at 12noon (after the morning service). A few of our morning congregation stay behind to assist with the baptism service and welcome visitors, but otherwise it is a quieter service with only the friends and family of the candidates present. In this instance, the formal welcome happens on the following Sunday at our 10am All-Age Service.
  • We only usually book in one or two families at each particular service. This keeps things more personal, and makes sure we don’t get to cramped in church. When the 12noon service is fully booked we are able to add a 1pm service.
  • The tradition of the early Church was that baptisms only ever happened once a year, at Easter. At St Mary’s we take very seriously our roots as a community of faith and there is always the opportunity for baptism at the Easter Vigil (the night before Easter) and the 10am service on Easter Day. (Please remember that the date of Easter changes each year!)
  • This fixed pattern of baptism services is a way of trying to organise ourselves at St Mary’s – but it is not set in stone! We recognise that there are many different factors involved when trying to organise a family celebration. So where possible we are happy to schedule additional services, but we would appreciate you trying to fit in with the Church’s schedule as far as possible.
  • Recently, the Church of England has formalised its provision for baptism to take place within the Marriage Service. If this is something you would like to consider, please contact the Rector before completing your Baptism Application Form.

Being a Godparent.

steve and cameronBeing a godparent is an important responsibility and a great privilege. There are a number of things to consider before choosing godparents (and before accepting the role if you have been asked) so please read the following information carefully….

  • In keeping with early Christian practice, the Church of England baptises people at any age, and those who are too young to answer for themselves are represented by ‘godparents’.
  • Along with the child’s parents, godparents present the candidates for baptism, speak on their behalf, and promise to support and encourage them in their growth in faith by prayer and example. This, of course, is a lifelong commitment!
  • Traditionally there are three godparents: two of the same sex as the child, and one of the opposite. However, there is space in the baptismal register to record up to four names, and the gender of your choice of godparent is entirely up to you!
  • Canon law (the rules governing the Church of England) state that godparents must themselves have been baptised. Those who are not baptised can act as ‘sponsors’ but will not be recorded in the baptismal register, and are not godparents. Adults can be baptised in order to become godparents, but this of course will mean that the child’s baptism is delayed while they are prepared as adult candidates.
  • Godparents have no legal standing as guardians of their godchildren unless separate provision is made through your solicitor. They are none the less, significant people in your child’s growth and development.
  • Prospective godparents are asked to be involved in the baptism preparation evening, along with the child’s parents, in order to give thought and consideration to the promises which will be made publicly at the baptism service.

Promises made by Parents and Godparents

Parents and godparents, the Church receives these children with joy. Today we are trusting God for their growth in faith. Will you pray for them, draw them by your example into the community of faith and walk with them in the way of Christ?

With the help of God, we will.

In baptism these children begin their journey in faith. You speak for them today. Will you care for them, and help them to take their place within the life and worship of Christ’s Church? With the help of God, we will.

In baptism, God calls us out of darkness into his marvellous light. To follow Christ means dying to sin and rising to new life with him. Therefore I ask parents and godparents:

Do you turn to Christ?

I turn to Christ?

Do you repent of your sins?

I repent of my sins.

Do you renounce evil?

I renounce evil.