Baptisms in the Horringer Benefice (St Andrew's Brockley, St Leonard's Horringer cum Ickworth, St Mary's Westley, St Petronilla's Whepstead)
We are delighted you are considering being baptised, or bringing your child(ren) for baptism at one of our four churches. When you have read the information below, please contact the Rector to make arrangements.
What is Baptism?
Baptism, sometimes called Christening, is one of the two great sacraments of the Christian Church, the other being Holy Communion. It is the fundamental act of initiation into the Church, and binds all Christians together as the body of Christ – his hands on earth. Baptism is a sign of God’s love for each one of us.
When parents ask for their child to be baptised they need to accept responsibility to nurture that child in faith, worship and knowledge of God. Godparents have a very important role in supporting them in this and the Church itself shares the responsibility.
Who can be baptised in the Horringer Benefice?
The first point to make is that anyone who is unbaptised is legally entitled to baptism in their local parish church. No minister should refuse except to provide preparation.
In the Horringer Benefice, we offer four qualifying routes for infant baptism. These are:
1) Current residence in the parish
2) Parental membership of the church's electoral roll
3) Regular attendance at the church (usually defined as twice per month for 6 months)
4) Recognition of a significant connection to the church, e.g. an older sibling was baptised there
If you are not sure if your child qualifies, or you need help finding out the contact details for your local parish church, please contact the Rector for advice.
Do we and/or the Godparents need to have been baptised and confirmed?
Parents do not need to have been baptised or confirmed. Godparents must lawfully have been baptised within the Christian Church. The Rector can advise further if needed.
How many godparents are required?
There is no upper limit. The minimum recommended number of godparents is three, with at least one man and one woman.
Is there any preparation?
Before the baptism service, sufficient preparation must be undertaken. This will usually involve a meeting with the Rector to explore the meaning of baptism within the context of the Christian faith.
What about adult baptism?
Baptism of adults usually takes place within a confirmation service. See here for more information on confirmation (link).
We offer confirmation classes roughly once per year, or you can attend the confirmation classes of another local church by arrangement. The Rector will arrange for you to be baptised and confirmed by the Bishop at St Edmundsbury Cathedral at the earliest opportunity after completing the preparation.
When does baptism take place?
Because it is the whole church that welcomes each new member, Baptism always takes place during the Sunday service.
On some Sundays, it may not be possible to hold a baptism, e.g. during Lent, Advent, or on a major feast or festival day; or if no priest is available to take the service.
Does it cost anything?
The Church of England makes no charge for baptism as we consider it to be the freely given gift of God. However many people like to make a donation to the parish church as an act of thanksgiving.
Can we take photos?
Photography or filming during the service is not permitted, but you are welcome to take pictures by the font or outside the church afterwards.