Listed below are a few of the questions we are often asked about baptisms at St John the Baptist Church.
Q: What exactly is Baptism?
A: Baptism or 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. Godparents and parents will make promises on behalf of the baby, prayers will be offered for the child and the family, and a candle will be given to the family as a gift from the church family.
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 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 reasons do contact our Parish Administrator and we will help as much as we can.
If you do arrange a baptism outside your own parish, as a matter of courtesy we ask that you have 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 Godparents must be old enough to make promises on behalf of the child. Although Godparents need not be confirmed members of the Church of England, they should have been baptised.
Q: As the parents of the child do we need to be baptised?
A: Not necessarily. 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: Please contact the Parish Administrator, Christine Cannadine (firstname.lastname@example.org, 01329 832 162), who will take some details to pass on to the Ministry team.
The services usually take place at 11.30am on Sundays. At the discretion of the minister taking the service, an alternative time may be possible.
For more information, have a look at the Church of England’s special baptism webpages: https://churchofenglandchristenings.org