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

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. In baptism, we are thanking God for his gift of life and publicly acknowledging his love for us; because of this 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. 

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.

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).

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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] - be sure to include your name and a contact telephone number.

To arrange a Methodist christening, please contact our Methodist Minister, Reverend Barbara Evans-Routley on 01992 462881

Our Christening Booking Form can be downloaded at the bottom of the page.

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

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The 'Top 10' Frequently asked questions about Christening

The Church of England carries out more than 10,000 christenings per month each year for babies and infants. Everyone is welcome to have a christening in their parish church. Here are some most frequently asked questions about christenings.

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. Baptism means to be immersed in water. 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 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.

When can I have a christening? 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. The service is usually held on Sunday but there are also opportunities to have a service at a different time. Talk to the vicar, and ask their advice.

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 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 or Revd Barbara our Methodist Minister and ask for advice. They will be delighted to help you further and to explore with you what accepting God’s gift of baptism can mean in your life. 

Infant_or_Child_Baptism_Application_Form, PDF

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