Christian Baptism (commonly known as christening) is a Christian sacrament which signifies spiritual cleansing and rebirth. Baptism comes from a Greek word meaning to ‘immerse’ and in the church service it is the ritual act, with the use of water, by which a person is admitted to membership of the Christian Church.
Baptism marks the beginning of a lifetime journey of turning away from evil and living a Christian life.
Parents When a child is too young to speak for him/herself the parents thank God for His gift of their baby and his/her new life as a Christian. So, when as parents you bring your child for Baptism, you will be asked to say, on behalf of your little one, that you believe in God and that you will bring up your child in the Christian faith.
Godparents The role of godparents is to help parents bring up the child in the life of the church, and to set a Christian example through the life they lead. Being asked to be a godparent is not only a compliment and a privilege but also a responsibility. You are asked to share in the Christian life of a young child. You will make the same promises as the parents at the Baptism service. Godparents promise to support the parents in bringing the child up as a Christian within the family of the Church. The Church believes that those it baptizes should have the promise of a Christian upbringing. That is why the Church of England requires all godparents to be baptized themselves and, ideally, to be confirmed as well.
The Church normally requires at least three godparents, often two of the same sex as the child and one of the opposite sex. Parents can also be godparents. When parents do not take part in church life themselves, we expect them to choose godparents who do.
Promises When children are baptized their parents and godparents make the promises that they will:
- pray for them
- bring them up as Christians
- set them a good example of living as a Christian
- bring them to church to share in the community’s life of faith
Making promises If you feel that you can make these promises, we would be delighted to speak further with you about Baptism. It is important to consider whether you can make these promises and decisions and answer the questions truthfully.
Adult Baptism or Baptism of Older Children If you are mature enough to make your own decisions and you've decided you'd like to be baptized, you'll have a Baptism service that is designed for adults.
You may have been going to church for a while and want to make a more definite commitment in terms of your Christian faith. For adults and young people, Baptism usually takes place shortly before, or at the same time, as Confirmation. Confirmation is the service when those who have previously been baptized affirm those promises and are specially prayed for by a Bishop.
Baptism is a response to God's love - a desire and a commitment to respond to God's call to follow the example of Jesus.
The Baptism service for adults is similar to the service for a child's baptism, except that because you make the decision and the promises yourself, there is no role required for parents or godparents (who make decisions and promises on behalf of a child).
You may decide to have supporting friends or 'sponsors' - this can be anyone who wishes to encourage you in your Christian faith. It may be a friend, or someone in your family and you may have more than one person if you wish.
If you wish to be baptized or if you wish to bring your child for baptism, please contact the Parish Priest, Fr Ian Chandler (see Contact Us for his email and telephone number).