What is Baptism (Christening)?

In baptism, you as parents are thanking God for His gift of life, making a decision to start your child on the journey of faith and asking for the Church's support. At baptism you promise to raise your child to know God loves them, and to help them to follow Jesus as a member of the Church.

For your child, baptism marks the start of a journey of faith, which involves turning away from all that is evil, turning towards Christ and becoming a member of the local and worldwide Christian family.

What happens during the service?

Your child's baptism will normally take place after the main Sunday service. The priest will make sure you know where to sit and when you need to move. Some parts of the service will be for everyone to join in, some will be for you and the godparents.

The priest will ask the parents and godparents to make declarations on behalf of the child.

Making decisions and promises

When you bring your child for baptism, you will be asked to declare publicly on behalf of your child that you believe in God and that you will bring your child up to follow Jesus. You will be asked to answer, on your child's behalf, that you have decided to turn away from everything which is evil or sinful and instead to turn towards Christ.

The declarations made by you and the child's godparents will be made in front of the congregation.

Symbols and actions used during the service

A number of important symbols and actions will be used during the service itself:

     The sign of the cross - the priest will make the sign of the cross on your child's forehead with oil. This is like an invisible badge to show that Christians are united with Christ and must not be ashamed to stand up for their faith in him.

      Water - the priest will pour water on your child's head. Water is a sign of washing and cleansing. In baptism it is a sign of being washed free from sin and beginning a new life with God.

      Candles - Jesus is the Light of the World. Our Easter candle will be lit in the church and you will be given a lighted candle at the end of the service as a reminder of the light which has come into your child's life.


The role of godparents

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

You should have at least three godparents: two of the same sex as the child and one of the opposite sex. 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. Godparents must themselves be baptized, and ideally should also be confirmed.


There is a dedicated website which provides more general information regarding Baptism in the Church of England -

If you wish to arrange a baptism for yourself/a child in the Parish Church, please complete an initial enquiry form or telephone the Parish Office (see "Contact us" page) at an early stage so we can collect some basic information and take you through some of the key aspects and formalities involved.


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