Here at St Mary’s we welcome children for baptism.
Being baptised is the way you become a Christian. It is, in the language of the Church, a sacrament; a visible sign signifying a person’s becoming a follower of Jesus Christ and ‘being saved ‘and bringing them the grace of God. The visible sign is water, either poured over the head of the person being baptised or in which they are dipped. (The word ‘baptise’ means to dip.). Water stands for cleansing but also sharing in the death and new life of Jesus, shown by his resurrection from the dead. It is a sign of faith.
We baptise children, including those who are too young to declare their own faith, because their parents and godparents stand in for them, promising to bring them up in the faith. So when the church baptises a child it expects the parents to bring them up as Christians, to bring them to church and, in due time, for the child to make his or her own declaration of faith at a service of Confirmation.
We do not only baptise children. People become Christians at all stages of life and adult baptisms are becoming more and more frequent. When adults are baptised they are usually confirmed at the same time.
Whether you are thinking about baptism for your child, yourself or another adult, please contact Fr Clive Wylie.
Baptism takes place in church during the 9.30 am Eucharist service on a Sunday morning (unless someone asks for baptism of someone very sick or at the point of death) and the whole family is normally there. Because it an act of initiation into the Church, the expectation is that it will take place in the present of the church congregation into whose membership the newly baptised will enter.
Those who speak for the person to be baptised will be asked to reject evil in its manifold forms:
- Evil understood as deliberation rebellion against God is personified as the devil;
- Evil is a distortion and corruption of the good
- Evil is whatever separates us from God and from our neighbour, when it is called sin.
As a sign of this rejection of evil, the priest will mark the person to be baptised with holy oil, making the sign of the cross as he does so.
They will be asked to affirm their faith in God as revealed in Jesus Christ:
- To turn to Christ as Saviour
- To submit to Christ as Lord;
- To come to Christ, the way the truth and the life
The water is then blessed, everyone is asked to make the Profession of Faith and then the baptism takes place.
Finally, the newly baptised, or a parent, will be given a candle lit from the Easter candles as a sign of the light of Jesus’s resurrection and that the newly baptised will reject the world of darkness and follow a way of life that reflects goodness and light and shares this light with others.
If you want to know more or want to make arrangements for the baptism of your child – or you own baptism – contact Fr Clive Wylie or, for general enquiries you may find some helpful advice on the Church of England website.
The role of godparents
Godparents make the same promises on behalf of the child being baptised as parents. Godparents promise to pray and support the child and to help the parents to bring up the child in the Christian faith. It is an important and responsible role.
You should have at least three godparents: two of the same sex as the child and one of the opposite sex. Godparents can be family members or friends. however, it is important that you choose people who will take an interest in your child's spiritual welfare and who will pray for you and your child. they should be baptised themselves.
You may wish to ask your parish priest about having a service of Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child. In this service, you thank God for the gift of your child ad the child is blessed. You do not make the same promises as in the Baptism service.
If you choose to have a Thanksgiving, you may also have a Baptism service for your child at a later date.