Baptism ('Christening'), Thanksgiving
We are delighted you are thinking of baptism for your child. Your child is precious to you and precious to God. 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.
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. Christians believe that baptism marks a highly important moment in our lives; through the water of baptism we are joined to Jesus in a unique way, so that it marks the beginning of an eternity of friendship with him. Baptism is sometimes called by an old English word, Christening. Baptism and Christening are the same thing, and this old English word reminds us that it is about being made one with Jesus Christ.
Baptisms in the parish usually take place during the main Sunday morning Eucharist at 10.00am at S Michaels
Stokenham and at 1130am at S Martins Sherford. At Baptism we each become
members of the local and world-wide family of the church and it is therefore important that church members are there to welcome their new brother or sister. When you bring your child for baptism, you are 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 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 have been baptised. 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, though primarily a spiritual one - it is not the same as being a legal
guardian for instance.
You may feel that Baptism is too big a step to take on behalf of your child just at the moment. If this is the case we can offer a Thanksgiving Service for the safe arrival of your precious baby. During this simple service we
thank God for being entrusted with the joy of parenthood and pray that guided by God we may be given the strength to make a good job of it.
Children and teenagers may be prepared for Confirmation and First Communion generally from 10 years of age and above if they demonstrate a desire for deeper involvement in the Church’s life and the Christian Faith and have the support of their parents.
Adults too, who may not have been baptised as children, may find themselves wishing to make a commitment to Christ and to the life of the Church. In such cases, Baptism, Confirmation and First Communion are administered at the same time, after a period of preparation together exploring faith.
Fr Michael will be happy to discuss ways in which you can deepen your level of commitment and involvement and the practical issues concerning the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation.