This page deals mainly with the Baptism/Christening of Infants.
However, it's worth a read, regardless of the age of those being baptised.
Infant Baptism All Saints, Newton Heath
The worshiping community here at All Saints welcomes you and shares the joy of all who come for baptism.
What is baptism?
It is one of the human rights of passage, of initiation. There is a religious and sacramental dimension to it, of course, as the one baptised formally becomes a member of the Church, Christ's body on earth. There is also an 'anthropological' dimension to, as a new member is introduced to society (the 'tribe' or extended family) and is an excuse for some pride in the gift of a child, and a celebration, all with the support of those who attend and witness it.
In baptism, you as parents, godparents and/or sponsors are thanking God for his gift of life; deciding to start your child on the journey of faith and asking for the Church's support in this.
For your child, baptism marks the start of a journey of faith, which involves turning away from the darkness of selfcentredness, turning towards Christ and becoming a member of the local and worldwide Christian family.
Baptism is a ‘sacrament’: a visible sign of God's love. In baptism, we are thanking God for his gift of life and publicly acknowledging his love. We are acknowledging that we all need to turn away from the darkness of evil and to make a new start with God.
Baptisms at All Saints are normally on the first Sundays of every month. We can accommodate four families at a time. If that first Sunday fills up then are happy to offer baptism on the third Sunday too. We may also be able to accommodate baptisms on Saturday afternoons subject to the availability of a minster and church stewards.
This is a big day. Although the moment of baptism is brief, it is important to prepare for it properly especially if adults need also to be prepared for baptism in order to stand as a godparent for a child. On the whole, we would expect there to be a gap of at least three months between the point of booking and the date of the service.
How to begin?
In the first instance, phone us on 0161 219 1807/07596514541; better would be to email us at [email protected]; or best would be to join us on a Sunday at 10.00 am. One way or another, make a preliminary enquiry, and we'll take it from there.
What happens next?
We will meet and agree a date. We appreciate you may need to juggle the availability of the church and minister with a venue for the celebration. Nearer the time one of us will be in touch to come and pay you a visit to double-check the details on the form. We would also like you to attend church a couple of times too, if you don't already attend. Baptism makes you a member of the community here. You never know, you might like it. There will be an opportunity to have a cup of coffee and meet each other.
How much does it cost?
There is no charge for a service of baptism, but there is a cost for the church which we are happy to accommodate. However, we would like to think that those attending might also make a donation after the service to help the work of the church: it costs between £1600 and £1800 a week to pay for the upkeep of the church and cover the costs of a parish priest and the diocesan, and that’s without the cost of our restoration programme, or giving to other goods causes.
You may have watched 'Who do you think you are?' or 'Long Lost Families' on TV and seen how important baptism records are in our social and personal histories. On the baptism application form what you disclose is up to you. After the baptism register is filled in the application forms will be destroyed, but you will be asked by the PCC for your permission to hold contact information about you should you be interested in hearing from us, for example, about special services at Christmas and Easter. Email addresses and telephone numbers are stored separately in compliance with the Data Protection Act (2018).
There is a sample application form downloadable from this page in pdf and Word format.
Shouldn't our children make their own decisions?
Some people worry that they are imposing views on their children; but from the moment they are born, you make choices on their behalf. You don't wait until they are old enough to ask for milk before you feed them and in the same way it is right to give them spiritual nourishment and teach them about the love of God from an early age. When they are old enough they may choose to be confirmed and to make an adult affirmation of faith.
What if our child is not a babe in arms any more?
If your child is toddling about, and is developing language and is aware and comments on what's going on, a short period of preparation (just an extra visit) would be recommended. If the child is Y2 or above, a little more preparation is advisable, and this could include visiting church a few times for worship.
If the child is of high school age, then all the above would apply, with some extra time to consider whether they would like to receive Holy Communion.
We appreciate that baptism these days does not always come from a history of existing church commitment, and neither is it followed by it. It is a gateway.
What about Godparents and Sponsors?
The most important part of choosing a godparent is asking the question whether that person will keep the promises made at baptism and provide support and guidance as the child grows up. Ideally and strictly speaking a godparent should be both baptised and confirmed. It is not possible to be a godparent if you are not baptised. You can ask un-baptised friends or relatives to be sponsors. Godparents and sponsors ought to be over 16 years of age. Sometimes it is asked that adults be baptised at the same ceremony as infants so that they can stand as god-parents. . This is one of the reasons why we build in a period of three months’ notice before a baptism service so that this kind of preparation can take place.
What are we required to do in the service?
When you come for baptism, you will be asked to declare publicly that you believe in God and that you will follow Jesus Christ and help your child or godchild to do so.
During the service, you will be asked to make the following declarations:
Do you turn to Christ?
I turn to Christ
Do you repent of your sins?
I repent of my sins
Do you renounce evil?
I renounce evil.
Later in the service you will be asked to affirm your faith in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Immediately after this the moment of baptism occurs.
Is there an alternative to Baptism?
A Service of Thanksgiving
If you don’t feel that baptism is appropriate but want to celebrate and share your joy at your new arrival, you may wish to ask us about having a service of Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child. In this service, you thank God for the gift of your child and the child is blessed. You do not make the same promises as in the Baptism service.
If you choose to have a Thanksgiving, you may also have a Baptism service for your child at a later date.
*it has been long established that “Parish registers of baptisms, marriages and burials, being public documents, are admissible in evidence to prove the facts stated in them…” (Halsbury’s Laws of England – Vol 11 – Civil Procedure) – paragraph 967).
“Per LORD BLACKBURN:- “A public document” means a document that is made for the purpose of the public making use of it – especially where there is a judicial or quasi-judicial duty to inquire. It’s very object must be that the public, all persons concerned in it, may have access to it…”. Sturla v Freccia (1880) 5 App Cas 623
So, in the view of the Church of England Information Governance and Data Protection Officer, the publication in the parish magazine is effectively using data that is already in the public domain – i.e. if the source is “public registers” then there is no issue with further processing by publishing it, so the lawful bases would be legitimate interest (Article 6) and manifestly made public (Article 9).