Who Baptism is for
Baptism is about people becoming disciples or followers of Jesus Christ. It can take place at any age and it is common for adults and older children to be baptized.
However, most baptisms are of babies or children who are too young to answer for themselves and what follows is written mainly with them and their parents in mind.
A Journey of Faith
At St James and St Margaret we want to do all we can to encourage and support you in your journey of faith. This is a special time for you and we rejoice with you in the birth of your baby, and want to assure you of our concern for your child's welfare, and in particular his or her Christian development.
The Church regards baptism as an important commitment:
- by the Church itself to supporting families
- by the parents to ensuring that their children are brought up as Christians and as part of the Church
Because this is such an important step, from which we want you to benefit as much as possible, we believe it is worth taking time to prepare for this very special event. With that in mind, we have developed the following way of doing things.
Getting to know you
If, after consideration, you decide to proceed with your request for Baptism for your child please telephone the Parish Priest, Fr Nicholas Clews, on 01274 662735. He, or his colleague Fr Robert, will arrange to make a home visit to get to know you and your family and to explain the process of Baptism.
At both St James and St Margaret baptism involves at least three visits to church, usually for the main Sunday service. (See ABOUT US for times) The reason for this is to allow you time to get to know the people of the church, the building and the order of service. This means you are more likely to feel at home and relaxed when you come for the baptism.
The three visits are
- Thanksgiving for the Birth of a Child (or equivalent welcoming service for an adult or older children)
- Anointing in preparation for Baptism
Whoever visits you at home will arrange these three dates with you. There are no set dates but owing to other commitments we cannot guarantee to offer a particular date you may have in mind. To avoid disappointments we recommend that you do not make any arrangements with family and friends until you have discussed the date with us.
In the meantime please try to worship with us as often as possible on Sunday morning. The more familiar you and your family are with the church and the service, the more enjoyable will your baptism service be.
Both parents will normally be present for all three services. Godparents will normally be present for the Anointing and Baptism.
At the Thanksgiving for the Birth of a Child a member of the congregation will sit with you to guide you through the service. He or she will then arrange to visit you to check you are happy with the process but also to show you a DVD explaining something about the meaning of baptism.
The Church of England asks that godparents of children to be baptized should be baptized and preferably confirmed themselves. Parents may be godparents to their own children provided there is at least one other. It would be helpful if we could discuss your choice of Godparents when we visit and before you ask anyone.
Receiving the Baptism Certificate
A baptism certificate will be available after the service. You can collect this at a Sunday morning service – but please check with the Parish Priest that it is available.
What comes afterwards
It is important that you follow up your child's Baptism by keeping him or her in the Christian faith. As a congregation we expect there to be children on Sunday mornings and we welcome them. We know that they will not always be quiet and will not always keep still! As your children reach the age where they can make up their own minds about the Christian faith we will offer to admit hem to communion and then to prepare them for Confirmation, the final stage of Baptism in which they will receive the Holy Spirit to strengthen them for service and active ministry. Preparation for this takes place with other children of their own age through discussion and games.