Church of England Diocese of Newcastle Whorlton

Baptisms

Arranging a baptism service

To arrange a date and time for a baptism please contact the parish office - see the "Get in touch" tab on the left of the screen. Before doing so, however, you may find it helpful to read the following information about the service and what it means. There would, of course, be differences should an adult wish to be baptised and they would be fully discussed when the service is being arranged.

Baptisms

Baptism (or Christening) 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 there are times when we all need to make a new start with God.

When you bring your child for baptism, you will be asked to declare on behalf of your child that you believe in God and in the faith of the Church.

The declarations made by you and the child's godparents will be made in front of friends and family. They will promise to support you and pray for you and your child.

What happens during the service?

Your child's baptism will normally take place on the second or fourth Sunday of the month. The service begins at 12 noon and usually takes about 30 minutes.

The priest will make sure you know where to sit and when you need to move. For the baptism itself, parents and godparents will be asked by the priest to gather around the font. (The font is a large basin on a pedestal, at the entrance of the Church).

A number of important symbols will be used during the service itself

Water

the priest will pour water on your child's head. Water is a sign of washing and cleansing. In baptism it is a sign of being washed free from sin and beginning a new life with God. It is also a sign of belonging.

Anointing and the sign of the cross

after baptism in water, the minister may anoint the child with oil, making the sign of the cross on your child's forehead. This is the ‘Christening’ and is like an invisible badge to show that Christians are united with Christ and must not be ashamed to stand up for their faith in him. The priest says: 'May God, who has received you by baptism into his Church, pour upon you the riches of his grace, that within the company of Christ's pilgrim people you may daily be renewed by his anointing Spirit, and come to the inheritance of the saints in glory.'

Candles

Jesus is called the light of the world. A large candle will be lit in the church and you may be given a lighted candle at the end of the service as a reminder of the light which has come into your child's life.

The role of Godparents

Godparents make the same promises on behalf of the child being baptised as parents. They promise to pray for 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.

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. it is important that they are baptised themselves.

Thanksgiving Service

You may wish to ask your parish priest 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.

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