Baptism or Christening

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If you are thinking about Baptism for yourself or your child we are delighted that you have found this page and we would be pleased to explore this with you.

When babies and small children are baptized it is frequently called a Christening rather than a Baptism. There is no difference; they are different names for the same ceremony.

Baptism is a great occasion for celebration as a person is welcomed into the church family. It marks the beginning of a journey of faith. Every journey is different – for some it will begin in early childhood, for others it may happen later in life. For adults Baptism is often linked with Confirmation.  In the Benefice churches we welcome both children and adults in making this important public step.

screen-shot-2016-10-22-at-15-34-31You can find some excellent information about Christenings on the Church of England website at here and about adult Baptism at here.

Some frequently asked questions, and a few things specific to the Benefice churches follow.

Who can be baptized in the Chase Benefice churches?

You or your child can be baptized in one of the churches of the Benefice if you live in the parish or if you regularly attend services with us.  Those who live outside the Benefice and do not attend our services regularly should approach their own parish church.  Sometimes those who live elsewhere but have a long-term connection with the parish may wish for baptism in a Benefice church.  For example, this might be if it was the church you attended as a child, and your parents still live in the parish.  If you have this kind of connection, please contact the Rector who will help you to explore the possibilities open to you – contact details below.

When?

Normally, Baptisms in the Benefice churches happen at 12 noon on a Sunday as a separate service and take place throughout the year. If you have a particular date in mind please contact the Rector as soon as possible to check that it is available. Families are invited to a Sunday morning service shortly afterwards to be welcomed into the Benefice church family. You can read about some of the baptism services we have taken recently here.

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Children helping to bless the water

Godparents

As many as you wish, but three is the normal minimum: two female and one male for a girl, and vice versa for a boy. See the Church of England website for helpful information on choosing a godparent, and a guide for godparents too. You might like to ask the godparents you choose to read this information in preparation for the service.

What is expected of me or my child?

Baptism is one of the Church’s sacraments – a visible sign of God’s love for us. Jesus himself was baptized at the start of his ministry as the sign of a new beginning. He taught his followers to baptize others turning away from their old life as a sign of starting a new one. It marks the decision to follow Jesus Christ within the family of the Church. With Baptism your child becomes a member of the church and you are committing yourself to support him or her in growing in faith. Parents and godparents make promises that they will do this.

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We gather around the Font

An alternative to Baptism

Some parents may feel that Baptism is not appropriate for them at this time. There is another way to celebrate the gift of a child without the commitment that Baptism involves.  In a Service of Thanksgiving and Blessing parents and families give thanks to God for the birth or adoption of a child and everyone prays for family life.  It can take place in church with family and friends gathered, or elsewhere as appropriate. A Thanksgiving Service is not a Baptism.  There are no promises to make about the Christian faith.  The child will be blessed, named, and prayed for, and supporting friends will promise to support the parents in bringing up their baby. We are very happy to help you plan such a special service for your child. You can read about a recent Thanksgiving service here.

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A Tree of Blessings used at a Thanksgiving Service

Cost

There is no charge for Baptism, although you are encouraged to consider making a meaningful donation towards the church’s ministry.

What next?

Contact the Rector, Revd. Mark Abrey, to discuss a possible date. Before the service a meeting will be arranged with one of the clergy to talk about the meaning of Baptism and to look through the service in more detail. We look forward to hearing from you. You can telephone him on 01608 676572 or by email here.

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