Baptism & Thanksgiving

Baptisms & Thanksgivings

We are glad to be able to offer services at St Mary's for parents who are celebrating the arrival of a baby into their family! The service of Baptism is when the baby is sprinkled with water at the font. Parents make statements about their faith in Jesus Christ, and make promises about giving their child a Christian upbringing at home and in church. The baptism - or christening as it is sometimes called - marks the beginning of the Christian journey for a baby, and they are welcomed into the Christian faith, which we hope they will come to experience for themselves as they grow up. When parents are not sure what their belief and commitment may be, the Alpha course which we run is a helpful introduction to living and active faith. We feel that it is very important that parents realize what they will be saying in the service, and have thought through what it means and how they are going to help their child along the Christian path. Godparents support them in a similar commitment.

Something else we offer is the service of Thanksgiving. The birth of a baby is an exciting time. Many of us are conscious at times like this that there is something more to life than just our physical existence. The awesome gift of life points us to a Creator who is behind it all! To give thanks to God at this time for the amazing gift of a baby seems the most natural thing in the world to do. The Thanksgiving service meets this need and desire, and it also comes with no strings attached! In this service there are no statements of faith or promises about Christian upbringing, but still a genuine expression of thanks to God. This one does not include sprinkling with water, but just as there are godparents with baptism so there is the similar idea of supporting friends who stand alongside parents.

We have a baptism preparation afternoon for those interested in getting baptised themselves or in having their child baptised. The services are then held on the 2nd Sunday of the month at 12.30pm.

Please see: for the latest contact information to arrange this.

Top 10 facts about Christenings

The Church of England carries out more than 10,000 christenings per month each year for babies and infants.

Here is a list of the most frequently asked questions about getting your baby or child christened.

1. What is the difference between a baptism and a christening?

There is no difference between a christening service and a baptism service.

2. What is baptism?

“Baptism marks the beginning of a journey with God which continues for the rest of our lives, the first step in response to God’s love.”

3. What happens in the service?

Christenings are services replete with symbols for new life. At your baby’s christening water will be blessed and used to pour on the baby’s head. The baby will be signed with the cross, a special oil may be used for this, and a candle may be given. Godparents and parents will make promises on behalf of the baby, and prayers will be offered for the baby and the family. There may also be readings and hymns, which you may be able to choose.

4. Does a christening give my baby a name?

No. Your baby’s name is given when you register the birth.

5. Who is allowed to have a christening service?

The Church of England welcomes all babies, children and families – whatever shape that family takes.

6. How much does a christening service cost?

The good news is that a christening service is free.

7. Where can I hold the christening?

You can have your baby christened at your local parish church. If you want to have the christening at a different church, for example, where you grew up or where you were married, you will need to talk to the vicar at that church.

8. When can I have a christening?

You can have your baby or child christened at any age.

9. What about godparents?

The involvement of godparents can be one of the most joyful parts of the christening. Godparents must be baptised themselves and old enough to make some serious promises on behalf of the child.

10. How do I arrange a christening?

Please see latest contact information on our church website here:

Your baby and the Church of England

The Church of England has launched a new website to help new parents wondering what to do about baptism/christening. is a central resource for parents, godparents and christening guests. “For a lot of families having a baby is such an overwhelming thing that they want in some way to say thank you and also to have a real sense of blessing for their child.” So says the Revd Dr Sandra Millar, Head of Projects and Developments for the Archbishops’ Council.

She goes on: “So coming to talk to the Church, to find out the best way to do that and whether having a child baptised at a christening is the right thing for them, is really helpful to parents.”

With roughly 2200 children a week being baptised, and thousands more children encountering church life through other ways, the Church of England warmly welcomes children into the world-wide family of God.