Baptisms at St Mary'sHome / Church Ceremonies / Baptisms at St Mary's
Is a Baptism the same as a Christening?
There's no difference between the terms Baptism and Christening. Some churches use one word; some use the other.
Christening is a traditional word which speaks of a person becoming part of the Church of Jesus Christ to become a member of the Christian church. Baptism comes from a word which means ‘to dip’ and is a reminder that Jesus himself was baptised – ‘dipped’ - in the River Jordan. The person to be baptised has a small amount of water poured over their head and is welcomed into the family of the Church.
What is baptism?
Baptism marks the beginning of a journey with God which continues for the rest of our lives, the first step in response to God's love. It is also a celebration, a time to come together with family and friends; remembering that your child is loved by God, is part of a wider community and has a place with God's people.
What happens in the service?
Baptism services are replete with symbols for new life. At your baby's baptism water will be blessed and poured on the baby's head. The baby will be signed with the cross; and a candle, symbolising the light of Christ, will be given to the family.
Godparents and parents will make promises on behalf of the baby, and prayers will be offered for the baby and the family.
Who is allowed to have a baptism service?
The Church of England welcomes all babies, children and families - whatever shape that family takes. You don’t have to be married to ask for a baptism for your child. You don’t even have to be an active churchgoer. Everyone is welcome at St Mary's church.
Does a baptism give my baby a name?
No. Your baby's name is given when you register the birth. However the baby's name will be used often during the service.
How much does a baptism service cost?
The good news is that a baptism service doesn't cost anything. You may have to pay for a family party, for gifts, and for christening robes - but the church service is free.
When can I have a baptism?
You can have your baby or child baptised at any age. There is no upper age limit, but after about the age of seven your child will probably be able to make the promises in the service for themselves.
At St Mary's, the baptism is often held as part of the regular Sunday morning service, but there are also opportunities to have a baptism service at a different time, usually on a Sunday. Talk to Revd Trevor Kirkman and ask for his advice.
What about godparents?
Involving godparents can be one of the most joyful parts of the baptism.
Godparents are not necessarily the people who will care for the child if anything should happen to you. They are people who will be there for your child and help them think about the bigger questions in life - questions of love, hope and faith.
Every child should have at least three godparents; by convention two of the same sex as the child and one of the opposite sex. Parents may be godparents for their own children, providing there is at least one other godparent.
Godparents must have been baptised themselves and be old enough to make some serious promises on behalf of the child.
Can I be baptised as an adult?
If you are older and you've decided you want to be baptised, you can have a baptism service that is designed for adults.
For adults and young people, baptism often takes place shortly before they are confirmed.
Find out more from Revd Trevor Kirkman.