Baptisms (also called Christenings) are always a source of great joy and celebration. We are always happy to hear from you if you are considering baptism for your child, or for yourself. Please get in touch through our Contact Us page to find out more.
You can watch this video, which explains a lot more about baptism at our church:
Who can be baptized at St Mary’s?
If you live in the parish, or are a regular worshipper with us, attend one of our Toddler Groups, or have another connection with St Mary’s, we will be happy to arrange your or your child’s baptism. If not, give us a ring to talk it over– we’ll probably suggest that you start coming to one of our services (such as the family-friendly Toddle Up! or Praise@11, or a more traditional service), or join one of our Toddler Groups. That way you’ll be able to get a feel for St Mary’s and decide if this is the right place for you to make this very important step.
What is baptism?
Your child is precious to you, and precious to God. At baptism you promise to raise your child to know that God loves them, and to help them to follow Jesus as a member of the Church. Baptism is what we call a ‘sacrament’, a visible sign of God’s love for us. In baptism, we thank God for the gift of new life, and we mark a new beginning in the family of the Church.
There are various elements to the service. There will be hymns, readings, and a short sermon. There are some declarations and prayers at the front of the church involving you and the godparents. The most important part of the service- the baptism itself – involves the priest pouring water on your child’s head. This is a sign of being washed free from sin and beginning a life with God.
At the end of the service the priest gives a lighted candle to a parent or to an older brother or sister to carry. The candle symbolises the love of Christ, and can be lit on every anniversary of your child’s baptism as a reminder of this great day.
A baptism visitor will be in touch nearer the time of the service, and will be able to answer any questions you have about the service when they visit, and they will also be there on the day to guide you through the service.
When do baptisms take place?
In the Church of England, baptism usually takes place during a regular Sunday service, so that the church is gathered to celebrate and welcome a new member. Planned dates and times for baptisms at St Mary’s include:
26 July at 1115
27 September at 1115
25 October at 1115
22 November at 1115
As you can see most baptisms take place during the 11.15 service on the fourth Sunday of the month. This is a simple service with readings, prayers and hymns where the focus is very much on the baptism. The singing at these services is led by St Mary’s Singers.
What about godparents?
If you have been asked to be a godparent, congratulations! If you are a parent trying to decide who to ask to be a godparent for your child, we would be very happy to offer any advice we can on making this very important decision. The Church of England’s rules are that godparents must themselves be baptized, and usually confirmed. Remember it’s never too late– we often prepare adults for baptism and confirmation, who are sometimes very new to church, or returning after a long break. You can find out more about baptism and confirmation for adults here.
You can read more about choosing godparents on the Church of England’s website all about christenings here, and there is lots more information on the same site.