How do I arrange a Baptism/Christening service at St. Mary’s Church?
Thank you for approaching us to arrange your baptism/christening service here in the Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin, West Butterwick. You may be new parents celebrating the birth of your child, or bringing an older child who has asked to be baptized, or you may be an adult wanting to be baptized yourself; in each case we are delighted that you wish to arrange a baptism.
The Anglican Church continues to believe that baptism is very important to individuals and the wider Church. It is the primary act of Christian initiation, as seen in the Bible, and well documented throughout the tradition of the Church and widely practised. It is the sacrament, a visible sign of God’s love, which unites Christians to Christ and makes them part of his body, the worldwide Church.
The next step
Please contact the Rector, Revd Paul Wilson (Tel: 01427 872528 email: [email protected]) to discuss a baptism/christening who will arrange to meet with you and complete the necessary application form and agree a suitable date and time.
It isn’t possible to arrange baptisms over the telephone, by e-mail, text or Facebook, so please do contact the Rector to make the necessary arrangements, where he will try to put you at your ease and make the whole process as enjoyable as possible.
In order to have a baptism/christening service at St. Mary’s Church you would need to live in the parish of St. Mary’s (you can check whether you live within the Parish by going to http://www.achurchnearyou.com/) or have some strong qualifying connection with the church, i.e.
The “qualifying connections” are as follows:
1. Either of the parents or grandparents of the person to be baptized:
· have been baptized at St. Mary’s; or
· have been confirmed and the confirmation has been entered in a church register book belonging to the parish. (This would have been done on the basis that the person concerned was prepared for confirmation in the parish); or
· has at any time had his or her usual place of residence in the parish for at least 6 months; or
· has at any time habitually attended public worship in the parish for at least 6 months;
2. That person’s parent has at any time during the person’s lifetime:
· had his or her usual place of residence in the parish for at least 6 months; or
· habitually attended public worship in the parish for at least 6 months;
3. That person’s parent or grandparent was married in the parish.
(In this list references to being baptized, confirmed or married, or attending public worship, all refer to Church of England services.)
Please note that if there is no strong connection with St. Mary’s Church, then you will need to contact your own parish church. Again, you can find this by going to http://www.achurchnearyou.com/
Parents & Godparents:
Christian baptism is a very important occasion involving serious decisions. As parents and godparents you will have to say that you will help your child ‘walk in the way of Christ’ and ‘take their place within the life and worship of Christ’s Church’. This means that you will make promises to bring your child to Church so they will be able to share their life and faith journey with their new family, the Church.
You will have to answer serious questions on your child’s behalf promising that you have decided to turn away from everything which is wrong and instead turn towards Christ and His way.
You can find some more information about the Baptismal decisions and promises here; http://churchofengland.org/weddings-baptisms-funerals/baptism-confirmation/baptism/the-baptism-service.aspx
You don’t have to be a perfect Christian to want to follow Christ. The declarations show that you intend to do your best. You and the godparents must make the declarations yourselves, although the Church will support and encourage you with these.
It is crucial that in wanting the best for your child you bring your child along to worship regularly with the Church Family in order to develop a sense of belonging. Please do ask about the services, events and activities which the Church provides to help you in this. The usual pattern of services at St. Mary’s are:
Sundays: 1st, 2nd & 3rd at 9:00 am Holy Communion (with hymns) 4th at 9:00 am Morning Prayer (with hymns)
(Occasionally, there may be other services at St. Mary’s or shared services at other churches in the area)
The Church of England requires that there must be at least three Godparents, two should be the same sex as the child. Parents can stand as Godparents as long as they are not the only Godparents.
In the Church of England those wishing to stand as Christian Godparents must themselves be baptized. Any who are not baptized may give consideration to their being baptized either before, or during, the service at which they are to stand. If they live in this parish we are happy to meet with them and make the necessary arrangements, if they live elsewhere, they must see their own vicar first.
At least one of the Godparents must also have been confirmed (a special service led by a Bishop and, usually, following which the candidate is able to receive Holy Communion. You can find further information about Confirmation here; http://churchofengland.org/weddings-baptisms-funerals/baptism-confirmation/confirmation.aspx). If none of the Godparents have been confirmed, then we require that a parent stands as a Godparent.
By law, the names of the parents in the Baptism Register must be the same as those on the child’s Birth Certificate.
Family & Friends
Please arrive at the church at least 15 minutes before the service is due to start, in order that everyone can be seated in time. The Rector will give instructions about photography, etc. at the beginning of the baptism service.
If you have any further questions or queries please contact the Rector of the Benefice of the Epworth Group of Churches;
The Revd. Paul D. Wilson.
Tel: 01427 872528
e-mail: [email protected]