Download a baptism application form to fill out and email or print.
What is baptism/ christening?
Baptism (also called christening) is the start of a Christian journey and a welcome into God’s family, the Church. You can be baptised as a child or an adult.
At a baptism we get together to celebrate the person being baptised and their family; we give thanks to God for them and we celebrate that they are becoming part of God’s family too. We make promises about the way they will live as part of God’s family, and we ask God to be part of their life.
What’s the difference between a christening and a baptism?
Nothing! A baptism service is exactly the same thing as a christening.
Can we have our child baptised/ christened at St John’s?
We would love to welcome you to St John’s for your child’s baptism! If you live in our parish (the Ermine estate plus some nearby streets) or if you have strong links with us, you can have your child baptised here. Please get in touch with Fr Stephen to discuss whether this is possible and the next steps.
Baptism is about becoming part of the Church, so here are a few things to think about:
- Are you prepared to promise that you believe in God and follow Jesus?
- Are you ready to bring your child up as a Christian and part of our church family here at St John’s?
- Will you help and encourage your child to pray and to read the Bible, and to come to church?
- Will you show your child how it’s done by praying, reading the Bible and coming to church yourself?
What happens in a baptism?
At their baptism, your child will be baptized with water. There are other important bits of the service too!
- Towards the beginning of the service, we hear a reading from the Bible and have a short talk from the vicar about baptism.
- Parents and godparents make special promises.
- We draw the sign of the cross on the baby’s forehead, using specially scented olive oil that the bishop has blessed. This is a picture of the baby becoming part of the whole Church, God’s family.
- Then the water bit happens! The vicar blesses the water and makes it holy. Then we pour water over the baby’s head, saying “I baptise you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
- Finally, we pray for the baby and their family and friends.
We will invite you to come to church for the next Family Service after the baptism. At this service, we welcome the baby into their church family with applause and we give them a candle, as a picture of the light of Jesus shining in their life.
What promises do I have to make if my child is being baptised?
When you bring your child to be christened, you are setting them on the path of the Christian life. So you and their godparents will be making some big promises about faith and about how you will bring your child up.
First, you promise that you will bring your child up as a Christian: praying for them, showing them how to live a Christian life, and encouraging them to come to church.
Then you make three big promises about your own faith: that you “turn to Christ,” “repent of your sins” and “renounce evil.” This means that you believe and trust in God, that you follow Jesus Christ, that you are sorry for the things that you do which are wrong and that you try to live in the way Jesus teaches.
Can I be baptised?
Yes! If you haven’t been baptised before (please check that you weren’t christened as a baby) we would be delighted to talk to you about being baptised.
Being baptised means taking the first step in your journey as a Christian. You will be making big promises about what you believe and about how you live; you promise that you believe in God and that you will follow Jesus, being part of the Church and living in the way that Jesus teaches.
If you want to be baptised as an adult, we would love to hear from you – please contact Fr Stephen. Because it’s a big step and it is about becoming part of the Church, we will make a plan together that involves coming to church and meeting with someone from church to talk about the Christian faith.
What about godparents?
Godparents are a really important part of a baptism – and of your child’s life! When you choose your child’s godparents, you are choosing people who will be part of their life for a long time.
Godparents make big promises in the baptism service: promises about faith and promises about staying part of your child’s life. So when you choose godparents, they need to be prepared to commit to your child and to your family, and also to the Christian faith.
Here are some things to bear in mind:
- Godparents can be friends or relatives.
- They’ll be people who you know you can trust to be there for your child, not just now but in the future, and be ready to help them with their questions about faith, hope and love.
- They should feel ready to make big promises about faith in church.
- Every child should have at least three godparents, usually two men and one woman for a boy and two women and one man for a girl.
- Because of the very special role they have in supporting your child’s faith journey, godparents must be baptized themselves.
I have more questions!
If you want to be baptised, to have your children baptised or to talk about what it means, please do get in touch with Fr Stephen. If you’d like to find out more before you talk to us, please have a look at the Church of England’s website for people thinking about having their children baptised: churchofenglandchristenings.org
A prayer for children being baptised:
God our creator,
we thank you for the gift of this child to our family
and for your gift of baptism, making thier part of your family too.
Be with us as we prepare for thier baptism and for their whole life ahead;
and may we be patient and understanding, ready to guide and to forgive,
so that through our love they may come to know your love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.