We always like to welcome people to the church and especially to welcome them into the fellowship – we do this formally through the ritual called Baptism. You will need to pick up the Baptism Application form after any of our church services – this gives us the details we need for the certificate and the Baptism Register. When you have filled it in you will need to meet the chaplain. Our service book explains baptism in this way:
“Baptism marks the beginning of a journey with God which continues for the rest of our lives, the first step in response to God’s love. For all involved, particularly the candidates but also parents, godparents and sponsors, it is a joyful moment when we rejoice in what God has done for us in Christ, making serious promises and declaring the faith. The wider community of the local church and friends welcome the new Christian, promising support and prayer for the future. Hearing and doing these things provides an opportunity to remember our own baptism and reflect on the progress made on that journey, which is now to be shared with this new member of the Church.”
The service paints many vivid pictures of what happens on the Christian way. There is the sign of the cross, the badge of faith in the Christian journey, which reminds us of Christ’s death for us. Our ‘drowning’ in the water of baptism, where we believe we die to sin and are raised to new life, unites us to Christ’s dying and rising, a picture that can be brought home vividly by the way the baptism is administered. Water is also a sign of new life, as we are born again by water and the Spirit, as Jesus was at his baptism. And as a sign of that new life, there may be a lighted candle, a picture of the light of Christ conquering the darkness of evil. Everyone who is baptized walks in that light for the rest of their lives.
It may be that you are not ready for the commitment that baptism entails but you still want to give thanks to God with others for the gift of life that he has given you. the following service may suit you well:
Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child
This is a service for those who do not wish to make the commitment of baptism but still want to give thanks to God for the new life they have been given by the birth or adoption of a child is a cause for celebration. Many people are overcome by a sense of awe at the creation of new life and want to express their thanks to God. This service provides an opportunity for parents and families to give thanks for the birth or adoption of a child and to pray for family life. It may be a private celebration at home or in hospital, or it may be a public celebration in church, sometimes with a number of children. This service is not the same as Baptism (sometimes called Christening), which is the sacrament of initiation into membership of the Church, the Body of Christ.
If you are interested in exploring the Christian faith, or finding out more about preparation for Baptism, come along to one of our services and talk to the Chaplain – or call us for an appointment. Whether you come for a baptism or christening I hope you will be able to express your love for God and that he will draw near you both at the service and afterwards.