We are pleased when parents consider Baptism (or ‘Christening’ as it’s popularly known) for their children and, because we believe that it’s a very significant event, we want to make sure that we do the very best for both parents and children. When you come to St Peter’s Church you can pick up one of these Baptism leaflets (download our baptism leaflet here or read on).
Taking the First Steps
If you live in the parish (check if you live in the parish here) or you attend regularly, we can proceed easily.
If you don’t live in the parish then we may still be able to help, but you may wish to contact your vicar to seek a baptism in your own parish church.
Below are the six steps we use for Baptism.
The best way to start is to come to one of our 10.30am Sunday Services. You will be made very welcome and you’ll be able to meet members of the church. Children are welcome here and we don’t worry too much about the noise they make or if you have to slip out to ‘make them more comfortable’! Alison Sowden is one of our lay Pastoral Ministers, and she looks after people at this time. You may contact her by clicking here.
You will be asked to have a meeting with the Vicar so that he can get to know you and discuss the preparation.
We invite you to have a “Thanksgiving” for your child. Thanksgivings take place at the 10.30am Sunday Service by arrangement with the Vicar and during it we thank God for the gift of the child.
After the Thanksgiving we arrange for the Baptism Preparation evenings when we explain all about the Baptism Service and what it means.
Baptisms usually take place on the last Sunday of the month at a special service at 12 noon. However, we can’t complete the Baptism at this service because the last part involves the regular congregation. So, the following week, we have the 6th step.
This is the “Welcome” when you return with your child to our 10.30am service the following week. This is when the congregation welcomes your child into the family of the church. At this service you receive the Baptism Certificate which you should keep in a safe place. We also give a special present to your child.
Even that’s not the end, because being baptised is just the beginning of a life of being a disciple of Jesus. We hope you’ll let us help you to help your child to grow in faith.
Why do some people bring their children for Baptism?
There are many reasons why parents want their children to be baptised and one or more of these may be in your mind.
Let’s take a pretend example of Sharon who wants her son, Henry, to be baptised:-
She wants to give him his name properly.
Baptism isn’t necessary for this. Children are properly named when their birth is registered.
She wants to make sure he keeps well.
Baptism is not a health insurance policy.
Sharon’s mother is nagging her to have him ‘done’.
It is Henry’s parents who must give him his Christian upbringing. It is their faith which will count, so they must decide – whatever other people think.
Sharon wants to make sure Henry will go to heaven if he dies young.
God doesn’t judge children differently just because one has baptised and another has not.
It’s so that he can be married in Church.
Nowadays you don’t have to have been baptised to be married in Church – though at least one of the couple ought to be a Christian believer.
She wants to give him a good start in life.
Yes, but baptism is not a social event . The good start must continue with a Christian upbringing otherwise it is the start of nothing and the baptism is pointless.
What is Baptism?
In the early days of the Christian Church, when people became Christians and became members of the Church, they were baptised. They wanted to make a complete break with the past and their previous way of living and show that they intended to live in a new way.
Baptism meant two things. It was like death by drowning! Death, that is, to everything sinful and selfish in their lives. It was also like being made clean. It was a sign that the Spirit of God had come into their life, to bring forgiveness and new life. It soon became normal for Christian parents to want their children baptised.
Infant Baptism means that the responsibility is placed on the parents and God-parents who have to make certain statements and make certain promises. Those who bring children for Baptism are required to say that they turn away from everything that is wrong and that they believe and trust in Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord. They promise to bring their children up to follow Christ and be members of the Church, bringing them to the church to be prepared for “Confirmation” when they will be able to take on these responsibilities for themselves and make their own commitment.
Some parents, even regular members of the congregation, decide not to go through with baptism after they have brought their child for Thanksgiving so that he or she can decide at a later date whether they want to make the commitment that baptism means.
If you have not been baptised then we can make sure that you have the opportunity to attend a group to learn all about the basics of the Christian Faith in preparation for Baptism.
Please be assured that we would be pleased to help you and talk with you “without obligation”, as they say!
Contact the Vicar here, he’ll be pleased to explain or help as necessary