So you want your baby Christened?
CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve had a baby.
You want to give her or him the best start in life. You want to celebrate with friends and family – to let them share in your joy. You want to say ‘thank you’ for the precious gift of new life and you’ve come to the church for us to help you to do that.
WE OFFER two options: please take some time to think which is most suitable. The decision is yours, but we will be glad to advise you. This page may start you thinking – we give more details below.
First is CHRISTIAN BAPTISM (also called ‘christening’). You say publicly that you believe in God and follow Jesus, so it is the official way, the ‘sacrament’ of joining the church. Many Christian parents bring their children to be baptised, promising to bring them up in the Christian faith.
But perhaps you’re not sure of your Christian commitment, or perhaps you don’t want to make promises on behalf of your child. So we offer a service of THANKSGIVING, which provides everything in the paragraph above, but you don’t have to say publicly that you are a Christian, or to promise to bring up your child in the church. As with baptism, you are welcome to choose the ‘godparents’ for your child, though you don’t have to, and their role won’t be quite the same.
YOU JOIN the Christian family. Baptism is a public ceremony, like getting married, when you enact outwardly what is true for you inwardly.
YOU PROMISE to bring up your child as a Christian, to ‘draw them by your example into the community of faith’ and to ‘help them take their place within the life and worship of Christ’s Church,’ and to pray for them.
YOU COMMIT yourself publicly to turn your back on living for yourself, and to be a follower of Jesus instead. ‘I turn to Christ. I repent of my sins. I renounce evil.’
YOU DECLARE that you believe in God, and also that you entrust yourself to him ..’I believe and trust … in God the Father … in God the Son … in God the Holy Spirit.’
THE MINISTER NAMES AND BAPTISES your child, pouring water on her/him in the name of God.
EVERYONE WELCOMES your child into the church; ‘W welcome you into the fellowship of faith.’
The Baptism takes place in one of our All Age Worship services at 10am, usually on the 1st Sunday of the month, with the whole Holy Trinity Church family present, as well as your friends and supporters.
WE THANK God for your child. ‘God our Father … we thank you for the wonder of new life … that we are known to you by name … and for Jesus Christ who has opened the way of love.’
YOU SAY that you receive your child as a gift from God, you wish to give thanks … and to seek his blessing.
THE MINISTER NAMES AND BLESSES your child.
EVERYONE PRAYS ‘May we be patient an understanding, ready to guide and to forgive’ and asks that your child may come to know Christ’s love.
The Thanksgiving Service does not need to be part of a ‘normal’ Sunday service, and can take place, for example, on Sunday afternoon.
What do I do next?
Whether you are thinking of Thanksgiving or Baptism, the preparation at Holy Trinity Church involves several stages.
Stage 1: A Church Service
Please come to one of our ‘normal’ church services at 10am every Sunday. You will be able to see what Holy Trinity Church is like (and whether you like us!) Don’t worry about your baby making a noise – chances are there will be other babies there too, and we have some toys and activities for older children.
Please stop and say hello to Nick Sharp (the Vicar) after the service, and he will make a date to visit you at home.
Stage 2: Preparation evening(s)
Parents and Godparents if they are available, come to evening session(s), in which we can get to know one another, choose the most helpful service for you and your child, and find out what it involves.
Stage 3: The Service for your child.
Finally, the service itself will hopefully be a special time for you and your family and friends. It’s our privilege to share it with you, and we would love to pray for you and keep in touch with you into the future. We really hope and expect that God will bless you in a special way as you draw close to him.
Please get in touch with Nick Sharp on 01992 589147 if you would like to find out more. If you’re not sure, he will be very glad to talk it through with you – with no obligation at all. We simply want to help you do the very best for your child, and to enjoy doing it.