Taking the next steps in your journey of faith
We are really excited that you want to look at getting baptised yourself or your little one baptised at St. Mary's. The best thing to do is to look through this page to find answers to your question or call us to ask any questions that you have.
What do I do next?
The best thing to do is to download the form and bring it in to us on a Sunday Morning and talk about the baptism. You can also fill in our online form and come in to talk about it on a Sunday.
We look forward to meeting you soon!
Who can get baptised?
Whenever it happens, whether as a baby, child or adult, baptism is at the heart of an amazing journey of faith as a follower of Jesus Christ. You are never too old to take this step, and being baptized as an adult is a wonderful experience.
You may have been baptized at a christening when you were a child or in a different Christian tradition, and there are always special ways to renew the promises that were made then in a fresh way as you discover more about what it means to live them out in your life.
What is baptism (also known as a Christening)?
Lots of people have probably heard about Christenings and look forward to having a good party to celebrate the arrival of a new child in the family.
Your child is precious to you and to God. You want the very best for them, and so does God. You want them to make right choices in life, for themselves and for others.
We want to join you in this amazing time in your life by helping make it especially joyful and significant. By looking at baptism for your child you are about to begin an exciting journey.
Baptism is a special part of the service where we say thank you to God for the gift of your child and start them on a journey of faith and we do this with water and a lot of other special and meaningful symbols. You can read more about them below.
This is the start of a faith journey for your child. It is a special moment when you get to say that your child will grow up in the family of the church and in the knowledge of God.
What if I am looking for something which is not so religious?
We want to celebrate the birth of your child and if the baptism services seem a bit too much for you at this time then we can also offer a service of Thanksgiving. More information further down the page.
How to chose a godparent?
Choosing the right people as godparents for your child is a big decision. Here are some key things which might help you decide:
Godparents will be people who’ll be in touch with your family for many years to come. They may be relatives or friends of the family.
They’ll be people who you know you can trust and who’ll be there for your child to talk about the bigger questions in life; questions about faith, hope and love.
They should feel ready to make some big promises about faith for your child in church.
Every child should have at least three godparents, two of the same sex and at least one of the opposite sex to your child. Although there is no official maximum number of godparents, three or four is usual. If you’d like more than that, talk to your vicar about the practicalities and they’ll be pleased to advise.
Parents may be godparents for their own children, providing they have at least one other godparent.
Because of the very special role they have in supporting your child’s faith journey, godparents must be baptized themselves. Ideally, they should be confirmed too, but check with the vicar about local policy on this.
If you’re thinking about asking someone who is under 18 to be a godparent, talk to your vicar first. There’s no minimum age for godparents, but they must be mature enough to understand the responsibilities they’re taking on; your vicar can help you decide if this is the right choice for your child and the young godparent.
What do I do as a godparent?
Godparents are among the most important people at a christening, who make big promises to encourage their godchild to grow in faith and commit to helping them understand how to live their life in a Christian way.
Alongside your godchild’s parents, you will
Give your time to your godchild to talk to about the bigger questions of life – questions about hope, faith and love.
Model and encourage them to develop Christian values – being kind and compassionate towards others, being generous towards others in need with time or money and standing against things in the world that cause injustice and suffering.
Pray for your godchild through the ups and downs of their life and their faith journey.
Show them practically how to make good choices in life, for themselves and for others. This might mean talking to them about how to stay healthy, how to resist temptations that can harm us and other people, how to care for God’s amazing world and how to handle peer pressure as they grow older.
Help them to learn more about the Christian faith, through their church and in other ways. Going to church with them, talking about what the Bible shows us and helping them learn how to pray are all brilliant ways to support your godchild.
It’s a demanding role, but help is always at hand, through your church, online, and of course from God, who will bless all you do to help your godchild.
What about a 'Service of Thanksgiving'?
There is a special, but simple, service of thanksgiving, which is a lovely time when you can be with friends and family, ask for God’s blessing and pray for your baby. It’s different from a christening so read on to discover whether this is something to explore further with your local church.
This service is a special church service, different from a christening, but can be a great way to say thank you to God for your child.
It is called 'Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child and you can view the words of this service just here.
It’s possible to have this service instead of a 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 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 actually happens in the service?
At a baptism, a child is baptized with water. This is the heart of baptism.
There are several moments in the service which have a special meaning too.
You will hear the words ... "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen."
The vicar will welcome everyone and especially the child who will be baptised and their family. There will be a Bible reading and the vicar will also talk about what baptism means.
The parents and the godparents will make some important promises for the child in the service. More details bare below.
In many of our churches, a special oil may be used to make the sign of a cross on the child's forehead. It's a significant moment, which marks the child as belonging to God.
The vicar will say, "Christ claims you as his own. Receive the sign of the cross"
Was which is blessed in the church's font will be poured over the child's head by the vicar. It is a sign of new beginnings and becoming part of God's family.
The vicar says, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen."
The vicar, or someone else from the church, will pray for the child and all those who will support them in the journey of faith. Everyone in the service also welcomes the child into the family of the church.