Baptism

Baptism is a happy and special event; usually the first ‘formal’ event in a child’s life and it provides an opportunity for all the family, relatives and friends to come together. We are pleased to be able to share it with you. We have found that people celebrating baptism at our church enjoy the service.

We hope that your child’s baptism will be a wonderful and memorable occasion and that it will mark the beginning of a long and happy association with our church. This information will help you with some of the questions which surround baptism or christening (Christian-making) as some prefer to call it. We do not put pressure upon parents or make them feel guilty about coming to church, but sometimes a baptism can remind us of how much we have let our own Christian life slip. It can be an opportunity to affirm our trust in God and to make a fresh start. We hope that the welcome you receive will encourage you to feel a part of our church. We understand the effort involved for parents with young children to get organised and to make a habit of going to church, but parents who do, are usually pleased that they took the trouble.  The Family Service operates on the first Sunday of every month, but you will find something in the whole range of services which take place on Sunday mornings.

We welcome even noisy children to our services and provide a crèche with toys and we encourage parents to walk in and out during the service. It is our sincere belief that there is no better thing that you can give to a child than the opportunity to learn about God and his love for them. In the early years of a child’s life they need to have this grounding of faith which will be vital for them if they are to develop into happy and balanced adults.  You are welcome to contact the church office to discuss any aspect of baptism. We will be pleased to spend time with you.

Will you baptise our baby?

This is a question which we are often asked at St Mark’s, Clayfield and the answer is YES!  We look forward to welcoming you and your family to celebrate this important occasion. With you we will thank God for the birth of your baby, name the child with its Christian name and welcome a new member into the Christian family of the Church.

Of course if you are an adult who was not baptised as a child then we hope that baptism may be something which you would like to consider for yourself. You will not be placed in any embarrassing situations, we will not make you feel guilty about coming to church, but we do encourage you to start thinking of this as your church.  The information here will give you answers to some of the questions which you may have; please contact one of the ministry team if you have further questions and they will be pleased to talk with you.

What is baptism?

A chance for all the family to get together, celebrate and thank God for the new life which he has given.  It is a time when we remember that as well as being a member of a human family your baby is a part of God’s family too, the family of the Church.  It is a sacrament that means an outward and visible sign of God’s love.  After his death and resurrection Jesus commanded his followers to make new disciples and baptise them too. This has been done ever since by Christians throughout the world.

Why do we baptise babies?

Most parents feel a need to say ‘thank you’ to someone for the wonderful gift of their child. That ‘someone’ is of course the God who gives life to us all. Jesus told his disciples to baptise people who wanted to become Christians and join the church. The Bible tells us that whole households were being baptised and of course soon parents wanted their children to be baptised too. Baptism is not like an insurance policy which you take out to make sure that your baby goes to heaven; God loves your child just as much now as after the baptism service.

However it does make sense to give your child the very best start in life and what could be better than to encourage them from the very earliest days to be open to God and to know of His love for them. Some churches do not baptise children until they are old enough to understand everything for themselves. However we do make all kinds of decisions on behalf of our children including schools and medical treatment as we do our best to encourage them in the best way for their lives.

We are pleased that you have decided to give your child the benefit of being welcomed into the church family, now please take the effort to bring them along to church throughout these early years so that they can have the Christian start that they deserve.

In the baptism service we also pray that one day they will want as adults to stand up for themselves to confirm the baptism vows which have been made on their behalf: this is called Confirmation. If you would like a chance to think more about the Christian faith then you may like to ask about confirmation.

When will the baptism take place?

Baptisms take place in the main Sunday Morning Service at church, because part of the service is the welcoming of the child by the congregation. Usually the baptism occurs in the Family Service at 9.30am.

In certain circumstances it may be possible to arrange another service in the month, however although we welcome children to all our services we find that Family Services are best for baptisms.

The Promises

Parents and Godparents will be asked to stand up and declare their own Christian faith.  It is important to make sure that you can make these promises and only you can truthfully know that. If you have any difficulty we will discuss the promises with you.  Baptism is a very important occasion and not to be undertaken lightly.

Parents and godparents are invited to gather around the font, one family at a time. Please bring this order of service with you.

The minister says to the parents and godparents: You have brought this child to baptism. You must now declare before God and His Church the Christian faith into which she/he is to be baptised, and in which you will help her/him to grow. You must answer for yourself and for her/him.

There are then three questions about the way you intend to live your life. Parents and Godparents make the promises for themselves and also for the child. They apply to their own lives and on behalf of the children for whom they will be responsible.

Here are the questions with a short explanation;

Question 1: Do you turn to Christ?
You will answer – I turn to Christ
I want to change direction. I accept that my life is not totally my own. I acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and I will try to follow his teaching and his guidance for my life day by day.
 
Question 2: Do you repent of your sins?
You will answer – I repent of my sins
I’m sorry about the past and I know that I am accountable to God for my actions and thoughts. I can never be perfect but as I admit what is wrong he forgives and accepts me.
 
Question 3: Do you renounce evil?
You will answer – I renounce evil
I know that I sometimes have to make choices between good and evil. I want to set the evil behind me and from now on I will always try to choose the good.
 

You will then be asked to confirm your faith by answering the following questions;

Do you believe and trust in God the Father, who made the world?
Answer: I believe and trust in him
 
 
 
Do you believe and trust in his Son Jesus Christ, who redeemed mankind?
Answer: I believe and trust in him
 
 
 
Do you believe and trust in his Holy Spirit, who gives life to the people of God?
Answer: I believe and trust in him

The minister says to the congregation;

This is the faith of the Church.
All say: This is our faith.  We believe and trust in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Naming of a Child

When the minister baptises the child he/she will ask what names you have chosen.  These will be the Christian names for the child for the rest of its life.  The minister takes the child and says: ‘N, I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.’

Important Symbols

Water

Water is a sign of cleansing and also an important sign of life.  Water symbolises how we are all washed clean by God and forgiven and accepted by Him. As we cannot live without water so this sign reminds us that we also need the cleansing and renewing presence of God in our lives.

The Sign of the Cross

The minister will make the sign of the cross on the forehead of the child using the water.  This is a sign to remind us of how Christ died for each one of us on the cross. As Christ died for us so we are now signed with the cross -the badge of our faith – to remind us that we must not be ashamed to profess our faith and fight against all that is evil.

Minister:
I sign you with the sign of the cross,
to show that you are marked as Christ’s own forever.
Live as a disciple of Christ: fight the good fight,
finish the race, keep the faith.
Confess Christ crucified, proclaim His resurrection,
and look for his coming in glory.

The Lighted Candle

A lighted candle is now given and the minister says, God has brought you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

The congregation responds: Shine as a light in the world to the glory of God the Father.

The child will be presented with a small candle to show that in baptism we pass from darkness to light. Jesus is described in the Bible as the light of the world and as Christians we are to shine as lights in the world. Our world needs now, more than ever, for us to all reject the ways of darkness and follow Christ in the Christian faith.

The Welcome

At the end of the baptism service the congregation says, ‘We therefore receive and welcome you as a member with us of the body of Christ, as a child of the one heavenly Father, and an inheritor of the Kingdom of God.’

Prayers and Readings

Your child is very special to you which is one of the reasons why you have gone to the effort to ask for baptism. Baptism is a wonderful time to say thank you to God for the gift of a child. But of course your child isn’t just your child – but God’s as well.  God loves your child and went to enormous lengths to show how much he loves all of his children, even to the point of dying on the cross.

This means that in a sense there are no such things as single parents; God is a loving parent too. In the days and years ahead try to remember that you should not try to bring your child up on your own, but rather with the help and support of God as well.

Here are some prayers and readings which you may find helpful.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ, you welcomed children when others turned them away.  Help me to love my child as you love her/him. Give me patience when I am tired, strength to cope when things get tough.   Give your Holy Spirit of love and joy to abide in our home and keep us safe. Amen.

God so loved the world that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  The Gospel of John 3:16.

Jesus said.’Come to me all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’ The Gospel of Matthew 11:28

Records

A permanent record of the baptism, with family details, is recorded in the official registers of the church. A copy of this is given in the form of a special certificate which the church has printed, as a reminder of this day.

Godparents

What is a godparent? Godparents make the same promises on behalf of the child being baptised as the parents do.  Godparents promise to pray and support the child and to help the parents bring up the child in the Christian faith.  It is an important and responsible role.

How many godparents should I have? You should have three: two of the same sex as the child.

Who can I choose to be a godparent? Godparents can be family members or friends.  However, it is important that you choose people who will take an interest in your child’s spiritual welfare and who will pray for you and your child.  They should be baptised themselves.

What happens after baptism?

Baptism marks a new start for your child, as a member of the worldwide Christian community.  In turn, the Church welcomes you and your child and promises to support you in bringing the child up in the faith.  Most churches have services where children are welcome and with special groups and activities for them.  We have a toddler group during the week.

You may also have questions yourself about the Christian faith or about being an Anglican in particular. Read this helpful Christians and Anglicans Brochure  and speak to us today!

We hope your child’s baptism will be a wonderful and memorable occasion and that it will mark the beginning of a long and happy association with this church.

Frequently asked questions

What’s the difference between a baptism and a christening? None, they are just different words for the same thing.

Can we have a private service of baptism? Baptisms usually take place in the church’s main service, because they are a public declaration that your child has become part of the church family.  It is important that the church congregation is there to support you and welcome your child.  However, if personal circumstances make this difficult, talk to your parish priest.

What is the right age for baptism? Baptism can happen at any age.  What matters is that those concerned believe it is right to ask for baptism.  Teenagers and adults may also be baptised—speak to your priest about this.

I’m not a regular churchgoer. Can I still have my child baptised? Yes.  The church believes that God’s love is available to all.  You may also wish to find out more about the Christian faith and what joining the church involves before you make a decision about baptism.  Again, your parish priest can give you guidance.  You are asked to come along to church at least once before the Baptism.

What does it cost? There is no charge for a baptism service, however a donation towards the work of this church may be made using the envelope marked “Baptism donation” and placed either in the collection plate during the service of given to the priest on the day of the service.

What do we do next? If you would like to proceed with the baptism please contact St Mark’s to organise a date for the baptism—as we baptise only two children at each Family Service you need to check the availability of your preferred date before you send out your invitations.

Confused? If you are usure about any of the information about baptism please feel free to contact us or come in and have a chat.  You are welcome of course to attend any of our services held each Sunday; 7.00am & 9.30am.

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