We have listed below a few of the questions we are often asked about baptisms at St Johns Church.
Q: What exactly is Baptism?
A: Baptism or a christening marks the beginning of a journey with God which continues for the rest of our lives. This first step is a response to God’s love. It is also a celebration, a time to come together with family and friends; remembering that your child is loved by God, is part of a wider community and has a place with God’s people.
Q: What happens in the service?
A: Water will be blessed and poured on the child’s head – the word ‘baptism’ means ‘to be immersed in water’. The child will be signed with the cross and a special oil may be used for this. A candle or other gift from the church may be given. Godparents and parents will make promises on behalf of the baby, and prayers will be offered for the baby and the family. There may also be readings and hymns, which you may be able to choose.
Q: Are there any alternatives to baptism?
A: Yes! Some parents want to celebrate the gift of a child in a different way without the commitment that baptism involves. During a Thanksgiving service parents and families give thanks for the birth or adoption of a child and everyone prays for family life.
A Thanksgiving Service is not a Baptism. There are no promises to make about the Christian faith. The child will be blessed and prayed for, and supporting friends will promise to support the parents in bringing up their baby.
Q: How much does the service cost?
A: The service is free. It is the welcoming of your child into the family of God through our church family and we couldn’t possibly charge for that!
Q: I live outside of your parish. Can my child still be baptised here?
A: Although it is usual to have your child baptised in your local church there are often very good reasons why you may want the service at another church. It may be that you worship regularly with us, or that you were married here, or that you have only just moved away. Whatever the reason do contact our Parish Administrator and we will help as much as we can.
If you do arrange a baptism outside of your own Parish as a matter of courtesy, we suggest you get a letter of consent from your local vicar.
Q: One of us is Roman Catholic. Can our child still be baptised in your church?
Q: How many Godparents can we have?
A: This is entirely up to you although we do like you to have more than one. We insist that all Godparents are baptised and are old enough to make some serious promises on behalf of the child.
Q: As the parents of the child do we need to be baptised?
A: Yes you do. If you are not baptised and you would like to be please contact one of the Ministry team.
Q: How do we book the Baptism or Thanksgiving service?
A: In the first instance please contact the Parish Administrator, Christine Cannadine firstname.lastname@example.org, 01329 832162, who will take some details to pass onto the Ministry team. Alternatively come to one of our regular Sunday services and speak to them directly.
The services usually take place on the fourth Sunday of the month at Shedfield and the third Sunday at Wickham during the morning service, but baptisms outside this time can be arranged at the discretion of the minister taking the service.