Baptism is a sign used by the church to represent becoming a Christian and becoming part of the church. Baptism symbolises a new start, or even the beginning of a new life, made possible by being cleansed by Jesus. In baptism, we thank God for his gift of life and publicly acknowledge his love.
Baptism can happen at any age. In the Church of England it is common to baptise young children; this is sometimes known as christening. Teenagers and adults may also be baptized.
Baptisms take place in the church’s main service, because they are a public declaration that the person being baptised has become part of the church family. It is important that the church congregation is there to provide support and a warm welcome.
If it is a baby or child being baptised, the parents and godparents should be committed to bringing the child up as a Christian. You do not have to be regular churchgoers to have your child baptised. We believe that God’s love is available to all, regardless of their background. Baptism services are free! We would love the opportunity to welcome you and your family to our church.
The baptism itself will normally take place near the beginning of the service. We will visit you before the day and talk through the service with you. On the day itself it will be really clear where you need to be and what you need to say. Some parts of the service will be for the whole congregation to join in; some will be just for you and the godparents.
The vicar will ask the parents and godparents to make declarations on behalf of the child. When you bring your child for baptism, you will be asked to declare publicly on behalf of your child that you believe in God and that you will bring your child up to follow Jesus. You will be asked to answer, on your child’s behalf, that you have decided to turn away from everything which is evil or sinful and instead to turn towards Christ. The declarations made by you and the child’s godparents will be made in front of the church congregation; the local Christian community will promise to support you and pray for you and your child.