Church of England Diocese of St.Albans Christ Church Waltham Cross

Christenings

Anyone who lives in our parish is entitled to be baptised at our church. If you don’t live in the parish we can still hold the baptism, but we prefer you to have a connection with us (i.e. attend or have attended Christ Church; have been married or christened here; or a link through your parents).

In baptism, we are thanking God for his gift of life and publicly acknowledging his love for us; because of this Christ Church welcomes all babies, children and families - whatever shape that family takes. You do not have to be married to ask for a christening for your child, nor do not have to be an active churchgoer. As parents, you do not even have to have been christened yourselves. Everyone is welcome at Christ Church.

Things you need to know!

Numbers of attendees are limited to 45 during pandemic restrictions

Christenings at Christ Church are held on Sundays, within a service, or at a separate time, usually at 1130 or 12noon.

Godparents should themselves be baptised.

We welcome everyone and don’t set any barriers or conditions, other than you promise to teach your child something about Christianity, the faith into which they have been baptised.

The process…

You will need to meet with (usually) the parish priest, arrange a date for the christening which suits you both and fill in the booking form. Use the get in touch form or email (below) to make the appointment. Once it is booked your baptism is now officially in the church diary and will happen as planned; you can send out your invitations! We do not usually send reminders of the event.

Our baptism visitor will contact you and make an appointment to go through the service with you, answer any questions and make sure you are prepared for the service. This is usually in the week before the christening. We have a Bible reading in the service (which you can choose) and sometimes family members might like to do this. Your baptism visitor will explain everything

On the day, don’t worry about children moving around or making a noise! The priest will explain everything as the service happens. We do discourage too much photography as a baptism is a very important Christian event and we would prefer people to be involved in what is happening. There will be opportunities for photos after the service.

Part of the baptism service is the ‘welcome’ where the church community is intended to welcome the newly baptised member. Obviously if your baptism is apart from the normal Sunday service then there won’t be any church community there, so we ask you to come to the next informal service we have (which are on the 1st Sunday of the month at 10am) where we can welcome you and give you your baptism candle and certificate. Our informal services are shorter, more family-friendly and usually have a lot of children taking part.

To arrange a Church of England christening, please speak to our Vicar, Reverend Teresa Wynne after the Sunday Service, or contact her on 01992 640338 or by email at [email protected] Or use the contact form on the Get in touch page on this website.

To arrange a Methodist christening, please contact our Methodist Minister, Reverend Debbie Hodgson on 01992 462881

There is a useful website at: www.churchofengland.org/life-events/christenings

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Christening (or Baptism – they mean the same thing) is how you become a member of God’s family, the Church. At Christ Church children are usually christened when they are quite young – but it can be done at any age and we have a few adult baptisms every year.

Christenings are held on Sundays within a service or at a separate time. For you or your child, baptism marks the start of a journey of faith and a special day for all your friends and family. Baptism is a ‘sacrament’, a visible sign of God’s love. </span>

We don’t set any barriers or conditions, other than you are willing to promise to teach your child about the faith into which they have been baptised. Of course, if you feel you need to find out more about Christianity in order to teach them – the best place to go is church! Come and see what it is all about – you’ll be warmly welcomed.

The 'Top 10' FAQs about Christening

What is the difference between a christening and a baptism? There is no difference between a christening service and a baptism service. Some churches will use the word 'baptism' and some the word 'christening'. Babies are 'baptised' during a 'christening' service just as couples are 'married' during a 'wedding' service. Christening is a traditional English word which means to become a member of the Christian church. During a christening service a baby or child will be baptised with water and welcomed into the community of the local church.

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." It is also a celebration, a time to come together with family and friends; remembering that your child is loved by God, is part of a wider community and has a place with God's people

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 using special oil, and a candle will be given. Godparents and parents will make promises on behalf of the baby, and prayers will be offered for the baby and the family.

Does a christening give my baby a name? No. Your baby's name is given when you register the birth. During the baptism, the baby's name will be used often, and when the water is poured over the child's head, the vicar will always use the name.

Who is allowed to have a christening service? The Church of England welcomes all babies, children, adults and families - whatever shape that family takes. You do not have to be married to ask for a christening for your child. You do not have to be an active churchgoer - as parents, you do not even have to have been christened yourselves. Everyone is welcome at their local church.

How much does a christening service cost? The good news is that a christening service is free, but if you would like to make a donation to the church it would be kindly received. Your donation will help towards ensuring the vital work that the church performs in Waltham Cross is able to continue.

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.

How old can you be? You can have your baby or child christened at any age. There is no upper age limit, but after about the age of seven your child should be able to make the promises for themselves. Adults can also be christened, if you're interested, talk to the vicar and find out more.

What about godparents? The involvement of godparents can be one of the most joyful parts of the christening. Godparents are not necessarily the people who will care for your child should anything happen to you. Rather they should be people who will be there for your child, be role models or mentors to them, and help them think about the bigger questions in life - questions of love, hope and faith. Every child should have no fewer than three godparents, at least two of the same sex as the child. Godparents must be baptised themselves and old enough to make some serious promises on behalf of the child.

How do I arrange a christening?

Simply contact our Vicar, Revd Teresa and ask for advice. She will be delighted to help you further and to explore with you what accepting God’s gift of baptism can mean in your life.