“Jesus said 'Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” - Matthew 19.14
If you are looking to have your children christened, we welcome you! From the earliest times, Christians have welcomed children to baptism with their families. Baptism is the sacrament that makes us members of Jesus' church and gives us new life; it is done for forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Anyone is welcome to be baptised at Outwood if they choose to make the Christian faith their own or if their parents are committed to bringing them up as Christians. We have baptised babies, children and adults of all ages, so it is never too early or too late to as.
WHEN WILL THE CHRISTENING BE?
Baptism makes people members of the church, so they should normally be conducted as part of worship on Sunday with the whole church gathered around. In Outwood, we make baptisms a part of our Parish Mass at 10am Sunday morning through the year. However, from time to time, the parish priest or church council may schedule baptisms in the afternoon or on other days of the week. If you have a lot of people coming to a baptism or your work means that it is difficult to get to church on Sunday morning, just ask and we will make arrangements to fit your family's needs.
PREPARING FOR A BAPTISM
In the Church of England, all who feel that God is calling them to join his family are welcome to be baptised in their local parish church. You will want to think carefully about the decision with your family, partner and friends, though. Making a commitment to bring up children as Christians is an important choice for them and involves thinking about your values and beliefs, and what you want to pass on to your children and how.
At Outwood, we welcome all who come for baptism but parents and candidates go through preparation first. As much as possible, this is intended as a way of 'getting more out of the ceremony' and making Jesus' promises of new life something meaningful for you and your family. Usually, you'll meet with Fr Jonathan, our parish priest, who will book the ceremony and collect all the information he needs for the registers. You'll then meet for coffee or a meal to get to know him better, before having a more detailed conversation about the ceremony and what baptism means for you the week before the christening. You'll also be invited to a welcoming ceremony 2-4 weeks before the baptism. This is a short ceremony to present you and your family to church, and an opportunity for you to meet the church family.
On every occasion, we want to welcome families to church and make them feel that it is 'their church'. We also want to extend an open invitation to our Sunday worship for those people who feel ready to make the commitment to come join us for mass when they can.
You should choose godparents who are Christians who will help your children's spiritual development and set a good example to them growing up. You must have at least two godparents (one of each sex), but there is no limit. Godparents must be baptised themselves and should follow the Christian faith - their role in the ceremony is to declare the faith on behalf of a child who is not old enough to yet. If you would like someone to become a godparent who isn't baptised, it may be possible for them to be baptised as well in order to perform the role. Please speak to Fr Jonathan.
Adults who are baptised speak for themselves, so do not have godparents, but they may have sponsors who are important people in their lives.
ADULT BAPTISM AND CONFIRMATION
Once a child is old enough to understand the Christian faith for themselves, they are able to be confirmed and begin taking Holy Communion. Parents will be the best judge of when they are ready, but confirmation is available to anyone - child, teenager or adult - who would like to explore their faith from a grown-up perspective. In the Confirmation ceremony, a bishop prays that you would continue to receive the gift of God's spirit, and you make your baptismal vows again in front of the church, so it is especially suitable for people who are coming back to church after a long time away or those who would like to become full adult members.
Adults who are going to be baptised and confirmed go through special preparation - usually 4-6 sessions with Fr Jonathan and other members of the church community. Please get in touch for more details.