Baptism is the great ceremony that marks the beginning of a person’s life as a follower of Jesus Christ. That beginning can come at any stage in life. If you are an adult thinking about being baptised then please contact Rev’d Elizabeth who will be delighted to talk that through with you.
On the other hand parents may wish to bring their children for baptism (sometimes called “christening”) at a much earlier stage of life, supported by godparents who are willing to play a significant role in the life of the child as he or she grows and discovers more about the Christian faith for themselves.
Anyone wishing to book baptisms for their children should go along to the Parish Office sessions in the first instance to register their enquiry, on Wednesday Evening 5.30pm – 6.30pm at St. Clare’s Church Vestry. They will then be guided through the process. There are three steps:
1. Baptism preparation
We ask you to come along to a session in which we will talk about the meaning of baptism, think through the service itself and make sure that we have all the details properly sorted so that the day of the baptism can be meaningful and hopefully an important and wonderful time to remember for years to come.
Preparation sessions are for parents although godparents will also find it helpful to come along if they can. We ask that you find someone else to look after the children and not bring them along whilst you are at the session so we can concentrate on getting all the arrangements right.
You will be given a date for a specific session and please come along at that time or let us know of any problem.2. Thanksgiving
Because many people want to have their children baptised in the parish it is not possible to do all the baptisms in the ordinary church services. Most baptisms are at a separate time (usually on Sunday afternoons). This has many advantages, such as a shorter service and room for guests, but it does mean that you might not get to meet the usual church congregation.
Because part of the significance of baptism is marking the point at which a child joins the great worldwide family of the church we ask you to bring your child along to church services for a few weeks before the baptism.
One of those times will be an occasion to say hello to you as a family and to pray some specific prayers of thanksgiving for your child as part of the baptism process.
You will be given a date for the appropriate service which will include a personal thanksgiving for your child. It would be great if parents could come along, this time with your child of course, and again godparents or other family members or friends would be most welcome.3. Baptism Service
Then there will be the service itself which we hope will go really well. It is helpful to us to know roughly how many guests you expect to have. All the details of the service will be explained in the preparation session.
There is no fee for a baptism. It is a privilege to welcome a new person into the church. We do ask for a gift towards the maintenance and ministry of the church and taxpayers can really help by making a gift aid donation.
You will be given a date and time for your baptism service. Please let us know well in advance if there are any problems with this.
So, in summary:
Come along (without your child) to a preparation session
Come along (with your child!) to some church services but particularly to a special one with prayers of thanksgiving for your child
Come along on the day of the baptism for a very precious moment in your child’s life