Congratulations! Whether you have a new child whom you are considering having baptised, or whether you are considering baptism for yourself, welcome to Holy Nativity Church!
A baptism is one of the most important decisions a Christian can make, as it is the start of the Christian journey. Sometimes also referred to as a ‘Christening’, a baptism service is a cause for great joy for us at Holy Nativity Church. Two thousand years ago, Jesus sent his followers out into the world to baptise. When you or your child are baptised in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, you are taking part in an ancient Christian tradition and become a member of the world-wide Church.
Baptism is a gift from God and is the start of the Christian journey. Some of us begin that journey as babies or children, others as teenagers or adults. Everyone is welcome to be baptised at their local parish church. If you are unsure if we are your parish church, you can check at A Church Near You or contact us directly.
Over the last year at Holy Nativity, about half of our baptisms have been children and about half have been adults. Several parents have been baptised at the same service as their children. If this is something you would like to consider, please discuss this with Robb, the vicar.
What do I do next?
We would love to meet you to talk further about your baptism. The best way to do this is to come to Holy Nativity Church on Sunday morning. The service starts at 10am and you will find a warm welcome in a family-friendly environment.
After the service you can speak to Robb, the vicar, or to Margaret, the church warden, about booking the baptism service. A provisional date can then be booked, but before the date is confirmed we will first ask you to attend a baptism preparation appointment. We would also invite you to attend at least two further Sunday morning services. This is so that you have an opportunity to form a connection to the church community where you and/or your child are beginning this Christian journey.
If family or work circumstances make this difficult for you, we also have services in the evening and during the week. Robb and Margaret will be able to give you more information.
What happens in Baptism Preparation?
In most cases, baptism preparation takes place in the evening at Holy Nativity Church with Margaret, our churchwarden, over a cup of tea. It usually lasts for 30-45 minutes and involves exploring what Baptism is, what the Baptism service involves, and what promises and commitments are made during the service.
What happens in the Baptism Service?
We normally hold baptisms during our main Sunday morning service at 10am at Holy Nativity Church. When you arrive, you will be welcomed and given a service sheet with all of the information you need for the service. Song words are usually displayed on a screen at the front of the church.
Some parts of the service are for the whole congregation to join in, some will be just for you and the godparents.
For the baptism itself, the parents and godparents will be asked by the priest to gather first at the front of church and then around the font in the middle. The priest will ask the parents and godparents to make declarations on behalf of the child. If an older child or adult is being baptised, they will make these declarations for themselves. For more information about these declarations and promises, see this link.
It is an informal and friendly service and we hope you will feel at home.
Choosing Godparents and Supporters
It is traditional a child should have three Godparents, usually two of the same sex as the child and one of the opposite sex. Godparents should be adults, or at least older teenagers. Godparents should be able to be present at the service in order to make their important promises. Godparents must be baptized themselves. Baptism is a good opportunity for both parents and Godparents to think about their own faith and commitment, since both will be making wide-ranging and serious promises during the service. If someone wishes to be a Godparent but has not been baptized, then Robb is happy to discuss baptism with them as well.
Adults being baptised do not usually have Godparents, but may choose to have “supporting friends” at their baptism service. Similarly to Godparents, these should be adults who have been baptised themselves, who can make promises to support the individual in their Christian journey.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a baptism and a christening?
There is no difference, they are just different words for the same thing.
What is the right age for baptism?
Baptism can happen at any age. Children, teenagers and adults can all be baptised.
What does it cost?
The baptism service is free. Should you wish to support the work of the church, there will be a collection during the service. During the collection people give what they can afford in order to ensure that this Christian community can continue to exist into the future.