Church of England Diocese of St.Albans Streatley

Baptism

For a child, baptism marks the start of a journey of faith.

This involves turning away from the darkness of self-centredness, turning towards Christ and becoming a member of both the local and worldwide Christian family.

Baptism:

- Says thank you to God for the birth of a child.

- Invites God to share in the task of bringing up a child.

- Affirms parents' determination to give their child a Christian upbringing.

- Commits the Church to doing whatever it can to help parents in that task.

The Sign of the Cross

During the Baptism, the sign of the cross is made on the child's forehead. The making of this sign symbolises Christ's acceptance of the child as one of His own.

It's also a prayer that as the child grows up, he or she will become ever more like Christ, showing that devotion to God and that unstinting care for others that were the hallmarks of His life.

Baptising with Water

This is an acted prayer that as the child grows up, his or her life may be free from all that pollutes people and turns them in on themselves, such as pride, hatred, greed, sloth, anger, lust, and envy.

The Giving of the Candle

The big candle is the Easter Candle. A new one is lit each year on Easter Day. It commemorates Jesus' rising to life again after the crucifixion and proclaims the faith that the light will always shine on in the darkness and that darkness will never master it.

From this big candle a smaller candle is lit which is given to the child.

The giving of this candle is a prayer that the light that shone in Christ will shine is them bringing them the precious gifts of love, joy, peace and a quiet mind.  


Questions & Answers


The Parents

Parents are usually God-parents. In the service they profess their own faith as the faith in which they will bring up their child.

Q: What if one parent believes and the other one doesn't?

A: Both parents must agree to the baptism taking place but both parents do not have to be God-parents. There's no pressure on the parent who doesn't believe to take any part in the service.


Q: If the parent(s) aren't married, can the child still be christened?

A: Yes


God-Parents

Their job is to pray for the child, to be a good example to the child and to help the parents, as appropriate, to give the child a Christian upbringing.

In the service they affirm their own faith as the faith in which they will help to bring the child up

Q: Who can be God parents?

A: Strictly speaking God-parents should be confirmed members of the Church of England. In practice, choose the people you think would be right, but bear in mind that they will have to make a public declaration that they accept the Christian faith


Q: How many do I need?

A: Traditionally a boy has two God-fathers and a God-mother; a girl has two God-mothers and a God-father. Where the parents are also God-parents, this means that the minimum required, in addition to the parents, would be one God-father for a boy or one God-mother for a girl. There's no maximum number.


Q: Is it right that the God parents bring the child up if something happens to the parents?

A: Any such arrangement is a private arrangement. Becoming a God-parent doesn't commit you to bringing up your God-child.