Baptisms & Christenings
We’re delighted that you are thinking about getting your child baptised. Your child is precious to you and precious to God. At baptism you promise to raise your child to know God loves them, and to help them to follow Jesus as a member of the Church.
What is baptism?
In baptism, you as parents are: thanking God for his gift of life, making a decision to start your child on the journey of faith and asking for the Church’s support. For your child, baptism marks the start of a journey of faith, which involves turning towards Christ and becoming a member of the local and worldwide Christian family.
Any child can be baptised at St Peter’s if you live in the parish or attend for worship there regularly. If you live outside the parish you can still have your child baptised at St Peter’s, we may just need to check with your local priest.
As a child gets older and they learn to speak for themselves, they would be expected to have some instruction in the Christian faith before the event.
What happens at a baptism?
We are always happy for baptisms to take place in the Sunday service, which is normally at 10.45 am. Otherwise the baptism service can take place outside of the main service, in the afternoon from 1 pm, although this would mean that hymns and other music would not be included.
The service of Baptism will require you (and godparents) to publicly affirm your faith in Jesus Christ and to make promises before friends and family and before God on behalf of your child.
Parents and godparents stand to say some words and we then go to the font for the baptism. The water here is blessed and is poured over the head of the child to symbolise new life. Before this the sign of the cross (the sign of Christ) is traced on the forehead of the child. A candle is presented afterwards with the words ‘Shine as a light in the world’.
What about godparents?
A godparent is a Christian who undertakes to support the parents in bringing up the child in the Christian faith as followers of Jesus Christ. It is expected that godparents will also be Christians and have an active and real faith in Jesus Christ.
When choosing godparents, please remember:
They have no responsibility for the child if anything happens to the parents—there is still a myth that godparents step in but they have no rights.
Godparents must have been baptised themselves and should be chosen because you feel they will support and encourage the child in the Christian faith. We only baptise adults after a visit from the priest, not so that they can be godparents.
Godparents must be old enough to understand the commitment they are making.
In some cases families might not feel ready to make the above commitments. There is still an opportunity to give thanks for the gift of a child either within our main Sunday service or in a short service in the afternoon. Please get in touch if you feel this would be more appropriate.
Baptism of an Adult
Get baptized as an adult or young person
You are never too old to take this step!
Whenever it happens, whether as a baby, child or adult, baptism is at the heart of an amazing journey of faith as a follower of Jesus Christ. You are never too old to take this step, and being baptized as an adult is a wonderful experience.
You may have been baptized at a christening when you were a child or in a different Christian tradition, and there are always special ways to renew the promises that were made then in a fresh way as you discover more about what it means to live them out in your life.