The majority of requests that we receive for Baptism are from the parents of infants and babies, those under 4 years old, and this page gives details of what we offer parents. For those who are over 4 years old and are able to express their faith then the page on Believer’s Baptism & Confirmation will have the information that you need.
Infant Baptism …
At the 453 Churches we follow a 2-stage process with regards to the baptism of infants.
A child is a wonderful gift from God and it’s right that we want to celebrate such a fantastic present and we would be delighted to join in celebrating with and praying for your family, which is why we start with a ‘Service of Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child’. This service is based on what Jesus did when little children were brought to Him (see Mark 10:13-16), and it can happen as early in your child’s life as you like; within the first few weeks if you want, and can normally be arranged at very short notice.
This service allows you to call together family and friends to:
- Thank God for this new life,
- Join together in asking God’s blessing on your child and family,
- Invite friends and family to play a special part in your child’s upbringing.
This service does not require any Christian commitment on the part of you or your family and we are able to offer it to anyone, regardless of where you stand on matters of faith. A service of Thanksgiving will take place in the church but can be done at a time and date to suit you. So if a Saturday afternoon suited you, for example, then that would not be a problem (provided the Rector is free then as well of course!).
This service is very flexible and we would just need an hour to get together and chat about what you would like. For example, if you had a poem that you wanted read then that could be included; any songs you wanted do not need to be church songs, so you could include some pop songs, for example, if they particularly spoke to your situation. The Rector would do a short talk (about 5 minutes) and some prayers of thanksgiving for your baby as well as asking God’s blessing on you as parents and for your godparents. You can have as many godparents as you’d like.
If you would like to book a Service of Thanksgiving then please do get in touch.
For many families a Service of Thanksgiving is all that they are looking for, but for some the further step of having their child baptised is appropriate.
The Baptism service is for children who have at least one parent who would consider themselves to be a committed Christian and that they are already members of the Church at which they would like their child baptised, and that the godparents too, are practising Christians.
Unlike a Thanksgiving, a Baptism service is all about commitment. It celebrates God’s commitment to us, and it is an opportunity for the parents, along with the godparents, publically to state their personal commitment to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour and to bring up their child within the Christian faith.
The Church also makes a commitment during the service, which is to welcome the child and to help and support the parents as they seek to bring their child up to know and to love Jesus too.
Because commitment is such a key part of the service we would expect parents to demonstrate that commitment before the child is baptised by coming to Church regularly and for any older children to be coming to our Sunday Club each week at Gotham to learn about Jesus too. We also want to make sure that parents realise the importance of what they are asking for which is why we have a short course that every couple is required to complete before a date for the actual baptism is agreed. If any of the godparents live locally we would also encourage them to come on the course, but we realise in many cases that simply isn’t possible. The courses that we use are designed to ensure that every couple is aware of what it actually means to commit yourself to be a disciple of Jesus so that you can make your promises before the church with integrity, understanding what it is you are promising to do.
Unlike a Thanksgiving, the Baptism service can only be done in the church in a normal Sunday service and there is a set form of service that we use. At Barton, Gotham, and Kingston baptisms take place on the first Sunday of the month. At Ratcliffe and Thrumpton baptisms take place on the third Sunday of the month. We do not offer private Baptism services outside our normal services.
What to do next …
As has been mentioned, we start our Baptism process with a Service of Thanksgiving, which we can normally book within a couple of weeks — if you would like to book one then please do get in touch with the Rector.
Once you have had a Service of Thanksgiving then we would be very happy to talk about Baptism and to book you in on our next Baptism Preparation Course. Please be aware that if you don’t live in the village then the Church of England’s regulations state that in order to qualify for a Baptism you will also need to attend church services for 6 months, this will then allow you to be put on the Church’s own Electoral Roll and you would then be able to have a Baptism if you desired, subject to the other requirements regarding Baptism detailed above. There are no attendance requirements for a Thanksgiving service.
If a person is not baptised they are still able to get married in church and to have a funeral service in church. Neither of these events are affected by Baptism at all.
How we can help you and your children
As parents it is your responsibility to teach your children about God and His amazing story that is recorded for us in the Bible and revealed ultimately and finally in His Son Jesus Christ. As a Church we seek to help parents in this task which is why, for children under 5 years we have our Cherubs Play Café on a Friday during term time, and for primary aged children we have Sunday Club each week on a Sunday.
This page was last updated: 12th October 2016.
Some material used has been adapted from Common Worship and is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council 2000
Some material used has been adapted from articles on the website of Baptism Integrity.