Baptism, which is also known as ‘Christening’, is the means by which we all become members of the Christian Church. Baptism can be celebrated at any age, but most commonly babies and young children are brought for baptism by their parents.
Baptism is a ‘sacrament’ a visible sign of God’s love. In baptism, we are thanking God for his gift of life and publicly acknowledging his love. In the Baptism service parents and godparents promise to give their child a Christian upbringing and the child is welcomed into the Christian family. You do not need to be a regular Church-goer to have your child baptised.
Baptisms usually take place within the Parish Eucharist on Sundays at 11.00am, or alternatively, they may take place at 12.45pm with the understanding that the child will be brought for a welcome into the Church family on the following Sunday at the 11am Parish Eucharist.
Part of the baptism service will take place at the front of the church, but for the baptism itself, parents and godparents are asked by the priest to gather around the font. The font at St.Paul’s is at the back of the church, and raised up so everyone in the congregation can clearly see the baptism. There is also plenty of room around the font for family, and esepcially children, to see what’s happening.
If you would like to arrange a Baptism at St. Paul’s, for your child or for yourself, the first step is to contact Fr Nigel Stimpson on 01422 553506
What happens at a Baptism?
Decisions and Promises
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.
The declarations made by you and the child’s godparents will be made in front of the church congregation and as members of St Paul's Church family will promise to support you and pray for you and your child.
Symbols and Actions
A number of important symbols and actions will be used during the service itself:
The sign of the cross – the priest will make the sign of the cross on your child’s forehead. This is like an invisible badge to show that Christians are united with Christ and must not be ashamed to stand up for their faith in him.
Water – the priest will pour water on your child’s head. Water is a sign of washing and cleansing. In baptism it is a sign of being washed free from sin and beginning a new life with God.
Anointing – after baptism in water, the priest will anoint your child with oil. This is a sign of the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit.
The welcome – the church congregation will say some formal words of welcome to acknowledge that your child has joined the Church family and to show how pleased they are to have you among them.
Candles – Jesus is the Light of the World. You will be given a lighted candle at the end of the service as a reminder of the light which has come into your child’s life