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WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO RECEIVE A CHILD OR ADULT INTO THE CHURCH?
Baptism, or Christening (which means Christian-making), is a very happy event in the life of a child or adult. The church communities of St Giles’, St Mary’s and St Bartholomew’s welcome your interest in seeking baptism and we look forward to sharing in this very important occasion with you. A baptism service is not just a very special day for family members, relatives and friends to enjoy, but the beginning of a life-long journey with God, and association with God’s Church.
Every parent wants the very best for their child in terms of happiness and personal fulfilment. Included in this must be the desire for a child to learn about God and what it means to know and love God. The Christian faith offers everyone the opportunity to root and ground their life in God, discovering our gifts, and finding happiness and a sense of belonging within God’s family. Everyone involved with our churches will do all that they can to welcome and support you during and after the baptism service.
What should I do first of all?
Parents/adults are first encouraged to come along to the worship at one of our churches on a Sunday to ensure that they are comfortable with the type of worship and are happy to make our churches their spiritual home. Service times for all three churches can be found on the calendar page of this website.
When you have attended a church service and are sure that this is the church for you, you should contact Father Jason Phillips (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the parish administrator. Father Jason will agree a date with you and send you a baptism application form for your chosen church. He will also pass your details to the parish baptism co-ordinator who will be your primary point of contact.
When do baptisms take place?
Baptisms can take place at a time negotiated with father Jason to support your family. Regular church attendees will usually be baptized during the morning worship with their church family present.
Special requirements to be baptized in our churches
Only those who reside in our parishes may be baptized in our churches. If you live outside the parish we may baptize if any of the following apply and you have a letter of agreement from your own parish priest:
Parents or grandparents habitually attend the churches for six months
Child’s parents or grandparents were married at one of the churches
Child’s grandparents live in one of the villages
Child attends Whittington school
The law provides for a priest to require parents to undertake further instruction if he/she deems necessary.
Where parents are bringing a child to baptism, at least one parent must be baptized. If one parent is not baptized, they may like to consider baptism for themselves.
It is the policy of our churches that there be four godparents, two of each sex. The role of the godparent is to pray for their godchild, to help them find their place in the Church. It is a requirement that godparents are baptized and are committed to their role as godparent. It is possible for them to be baptized prior to your child’s baptism.
If you have a person of another faith who is committed to the spiritual upbringing of the child, they may be appointed a sponsor in addition to the four godparents.
The baptismal promises parents and godparents make for the child
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 take their place within the life and worship of Christ’s Church?”
“With the help of God, we will.”
What does it cost to have a baptism?
There is no baptism fee but you may like to consider a donation of £25 as a contribution towards the certificates, candles and administrative and service costs. This can be ‘gift-aided’ and the church is able to provide Gift Aid envelopes to recover tax for charitable purposes. This means that the churches continue to be here for other families as they have been for you. There will be a collection on the day additionally.
The Church is aware that there are many adults who were not baptized as children. Often adults in this position will feel that thy have missed their chance for baptism. Our churches would like to reassure you that it is more and more commonplace to baptize adults and these are joyful and wonderful occasions. Baptisms may take place during the main Sunday worship or at another suitable time. Baptism preparation for adults is tailored to meet the needs of the individual.
Symbols of baptism
Water is a symbol of life and death. Thus it symbolizes new life of Christ and death to evil and sin, and God’s blessing on your child.
A candle is a reminder that Jesus is the light of our life. Thus it symbolizes new life in the resurrected Christ and God’s presence in your or your child’s life.
A white garment symbolizes a new creation clothed in Christ. White is always associated with new life, purity, and of grace. Early Christians wore a white garment when they were baptized to express their belief in the purification of baptism.
Oil of baptism symbolizes Christ’s strengthening power. The oil used is called ‘chrism’, which is a mixture of oil and perfume blessed by the bishop on Holy Thursday. The priest or deacon anoints the baptized with the sacred oil to signify the royal priesthood of the newly baptized and as a new member of the Church and is an ancient symbol of God’s blessing.
Light a candle, with the Church of England, for someone being baptised – click here!