Baptisms / Christenings / Thanksgiving

Infant Baptism & Thanksgiving 

We believe that children are a blessing from God, so we are delighted to share with you in celebrating God’s goodness in the gift of a child. Often people like to mark the birth of a child with a ceremony in church as a way of expressing their gratitude to God together with family and friends. There are two main ways in which we thank God for the gift of a child: Infant Baptism (sometimes called Christening) and Thanksgiving. The information provided below is given to help you decide what are the most appropriate next steps for you, depending on your beliefs and level of Christian commitment. 

Infant Baptism 

We believe that Infant Baptism marks the beginning of life lived in relationship with God. When a child is baptised, it is a sign that the family want to raise their children with Jesus at the centre of family life. Through Infant Baptism, parents are saying that they want their children to grow up and live as children of God, which involves becoming a member of the church family with all of God’s other children. Through Baptism, we say a whole-hearted “Yes” to receiving and living out God’s prior “Yes” of love to us. As such, Baptism is a special service for the children of committed, practising Christians; it is a clear expression of faith in Jesus and a commitment of the church community to support your child on this journey. One of the promises that parents and godparents are asked to make on behalf of a child to be baptised is that they will raise them in the life and worship of Christ’s Church. Therefore, since baptism is about commitment to Christ and his Church, it takes place in the Church’s main Sunday service. The saying goes that it takes a village to raise a child, and in the same way, we believe that it takes a church to raise a Christian. If you are a member of the church and would like to arrange a Baptism, then please speak to one of the Ministers after one of our Sunday services. They will then arrange to meet with you, talk through the service and guide you through the next steps so that you are confident you are able to make the significant promises required of you. After meeting with one of the Ministers, we will be able to talk about dates that work well for you as a family and also for us as a church family. If you are not already regular members of the church family, we ask that you join us regularly for our Sunday worship over a period of at least a 3-months. This will give you a chance to meet the church family who will, in the Baptism service itself, promise to support you in your walk with Jesus over the coming years, and it will also help you to better understand the promises you would be making on your child’s behalf. If, at the end of that time, you remain committed to the life and worship of the Church, and would like to explore Infant Baptism further, one of the Ministers would be delighted to speak with you more. 

Thanksgiving for a Child 

A Thanksgiving Service is a way of celebrating God’s gift of parenthood. It provides a special and meaningful opportunity for the family to gather together, to thank God for a child’s birth, to publicly name the child, to pray for him/her and to ask for God’s blessing upon the parents as they embark on the wonderful but demanding task of being parents. Although no godparents are required for a Thanksgiving Service, there is an opportunity for sponsors to commit themselves to offering support and care to the child and his/her parents as he/she grows up. A Thanksgiving service does not involve the parents in making any promises about their own Christian commitment or church attendance. This is often a good option for families who do not regularly come to church and do not feel able to make the promises required of them in Baptism with integrity and understanding. This may reflect your own position at the moment. However, having a Thanksgiving Service in no way prevents your child from being baptised at a later date if they/you feel able to make the lifestyle commitments associated with Baptism then. Many people may choose to do this as they explore faith in Jesus. Others may choose to do this so that their child can make their own informed decision when they are older. As with Infant Baptism, Thanksgiving Services take place as part of our main Sunday gatherings and we will work with you to find a date that works well for you and the church family. If you would like to find out more about arranging a Thanksgiving, the best place to start is by joining us at one of our Sunday services and speaking to one of the Ministers.