What is a baptism or christening?
To be baptised is to start an exciting journey of faith in the family of God. In the service God ‘adopts’ a person as his child and wash them clean as they begin a new life with him and the Church; a life which is now focussed on becoming like Jesus with the help of God’s Holy Spirit.
What happens during the service?
The service takes place as part of our normal Sunday service. It is done at this time because a key meaning behind baptism is that those being baptised are joining the church, so it is important that the whole church can see that you want your child to be part of God’s family. The Church will promise to support and pray for you and your child.
Godparents make a commitment to represent the child in God’s Church and to represent the Church and God to the child until they are old enough to take on the decision to live for Jesus.
We dedicate one service a month for baptisms/christenings. It is normal for there to be other baptisms happening in the same service. If your child needs baptising in an emergency then this can happen, but may have to take place outside of a normal Sunday service, so can only be done in an emergency.
The vicar will make sure you know where to sit and when you need to move in the service. There will be a rehearsal the night before the service at 6pm
Do I have to be a regular churchgoer?
No you don’t.
Parents often want their children baptised for a variety of reasons, the main one perhaps being that they were baptised and it feels like it is something that should be done! The vicar will discuss these reasons with you and ensure you’re comfortable with your decision to baptize or not.
Having your child baptised is a good opportunity to think about your own faith and the faith of your child: Do you want your child to grow up believing in God? Do you believe in God? Would you like to learn more about what Christians believe and how their beliefs change the way they live?
These are good questions to talk to the vicar about or a friend who goes to church. At Saint Peter’s we hope to make everyone who wants to explore faith welcome, and there are lots of ways and places you can get involved.
You don’t have to go to church regularly to have a baptism/christening, but maybe now would be a good time to consider coming along!
What if I am not sure about those promises or my own faith in God?
If you are not sure if you can make these promises, or about your desire to raise your child as a Christian, there is still a service that you can have called a ‘Thanksgiving Service’. It is a special church service, different from a baptism/christening, which can be used as a way to say thank you to God for your child.
It’s possible to have this service instead of a baptism/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 baptism/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.
What do I do now?
The first step is to meet the church family. Come along to any of our 10.15am services and talk to the welcome team about exploring baptism.
After this you will be invited to preparation sessions to help you think more about baptism.