Your child’s baptism or thanksgiving is an important event for the Church and your family. We hope your child’s baptism or thanksgiving at St Michael’s will be a memorable occasion and begin their journey to Christian faith.
What is baptism?
When parents choose to have their child baptised, they are saying that they wish them to grow up knowing Jesus as the Lord of their life and their Saviour from sin. It is our prayer that every child baptised at St. Michael’s will come to love, trust and follow the Lord Jesus in the years ahead.
In the baptism service (also known as ‘christening’), parents and godparents thank God for his gift of life, promise to start their child on the journey to Christian faith and ask for the Church’s support. For your child, baptism marks the start of the journey to Christian faith, which involves turning away from selfishness and sin, trusting in Christ and becoming a member of the local and worldwide Church family.
Baptism is a ‘sacrament’ – a visible sign of God’s love. The water used in baptism is a visible sign of the cleansing from sin and new start in life that God offers to all who put their faith in Jesus Christ.
What’s the difference between a baptism and a thanksgiving?
If you do not feel comfortable making the statements and promises involved in baptism, but would still like to say “thank you” to God for your child, then you might want to consider a Service of Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child. In this service, you thank God for the gift of your child and he or she is prayed for. You do not make the same promises as in the baptism service. If you do choose to have a thanksgiving for your child, they may also be baptised at a later date.
What’s the right age for baptism?
Baptism can happen at any age. What matters is that those concerned believe it is right to ask for baptism. Although it often babies who are baptised, there is no age limit. Teenagers and adults are normally baptised as part of their preparation for confirmation.
Can I have my child baptised at St Michael’s?
The Church of England is organised into parishes, and any child who lives in our parish may be baptised here. This is because baptism signifies the start of church membership, so it is natural to attend one’s local parish church so that your child can be welcomed and grow in your local church family. You can find out if you live in our parish by clicking here.
When do baptism services take place?
At St Michael’s baptism services are usually held on the first and third Sundays of the month at 12.30pm. Baptisms sometimes also take place during our 10.30am Sunday service.
How much does it cost?
The baptism service is free. At St Michael’s we do not charge for an initial certificate or an administration fee. However, if you would like to make a donation towards the work of the church there will be an offertory plate available on the day of the service.
What is a godparent?
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. The tradition is to have three godparents - two of the same sex as the child and one of the opposite sex. However, other numbers are permissible.
Who can be a godparent?
Godparents can be family members or friends. However, it is important that you choose people who will take an active interest in your child’s Christian upbringing and will pray for them. Godparents should be baptised themselves. Parents can also be godparents. If you need further advice please ask us.
What happens if a godparent can’t come to a baptism?
Of course, they will make every effort to come if they possibly can but sometimes this is impossible. This doesn’t stop them from being a godparent.
Do we have to attend baptism preparation?
We normally ask both parents to attend a baptism preparation meeting, during which the service and your part in it will be fully explained. We will also give you practical information such as where you sit, when to stand up and move to the font etc. Godparents are also warmly welcomed to this session but we appreciate that they may not live locally and so it will not always be possible for them to attend.
After the baptism service, you will receive a baptism certificate. We are happy to offer any further help and advice you may require in order for you to fulfil the promises that you have made on your own behalf and on behalf of your child.
What happens after the baptism?
Baptism marks a new start for your child, as a member of the worldwide Christian community. In turn, the Church welcomes you and your child and promises to support you in bringing the child up in the faith. We have children’s groups that meet during our 10.30am Family Service each week, plus our ‘Little Angels’ toddler group every Tuesday morning in term time.
What do we need to do now?
If you would like to arrange a baptism or thanksgiving at St. Michael’s, or have any further questions, then please contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org