Baptisms & Thanksgiving for birth
Baptism (or ‘Christening’ if you prefer) is one of the sacraments of the Church.
In baptism, we are thanking God for the gift of life and publicly acknowledging
his love. You can only be baptised once – but this can take place at any time.
The service includes promises about following Jesus as teacher and Lord, and
it reminds us that all baptised people belong to the Church, the family of God.
‘the Church receives this child with joy’
(extract from the Baptism service)
Just as children learn language simply by being surrounded by it and by trying it out, we baptise children in the expectation that they will learn from their parents what ‘living in Christ’ means. It may be a very happy decision but it is also a very serious decision: parents and godparents will declare that they will help the little child “walk in the way of Christ” and “take his/her place within the life and worship of Christ’s Church”. They answer questions on the child’s behalf, confirming a decision to turn away from everything which is evil or sinful and turn instead towards Christ. This means that the parents and godparents have a big responsibility to take an interest in the child’s individual and spiritual development: that’s why we suggest that godparents must themselves have been baptised.
You don’t need to have godparents, but it is usually considered to be a huge bonus for the child to have an extra someone special looking out for them from an early age. Typically, there are three godparents, two of whom should be the same gender as the child – but this is only a guideline.
Baptism of those able to answer for themselves
Not everyone is baptised as a baby but may decide for themselves later on as an older child, teenager or adult that they want to make that step along the Christian journey. The questions and promises are the same – just the individual answers for themselves.
Confirmation is another sacrament and marks the point in an individual’s Christian journey at which those who have been baptised agree for themselves the faith into which they have been baptised and publicly affirm their intention to live a life of responsible and committed discipleship. Only a bishop can ‘confirm’ such intentions, through prayer and the laying on of the bishop’s hands.
Alternatively, we can offer a Service of Thanksgiving for the gift of a child as an alternative to baptism. Many parents feel that they wish to mark the arrival of a new child with prayers and thanksgiving as part of the church community, but realise that they are not ready to make the commitment that baptism entails.
Making the arrangements
We welcome baptism enquires from those who live within the parish or have a connection with All Saints'. Baptisms are normally performed once a month on Sundays either at 9:30am, 11:30am, or 2:30pm. If you would like to be baptised or, indeed, if would like your child to be baptised, you can make initial enquiries and arrangements with the Parish Office by telephoning (0191) 2130450 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. A member of the parish staff will visit you to discuss the arrangements before dates are confirmed.
For more information about baptism, please see www.churchofengland.org/weddings-baptisms-funerals/baptism.aspx.