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BAPTISMS

Initial Enquiries: These should be made to the Rector, Rev Adam Pawley, preferably after a service or by telephone (01978 760439). He will find a convenient time to meet shortly afterwards and can only discuss dates once he has met those requesting baptism.

Baptism of Children: The Rector usually calls on the parents of children to be baptised in their home for about an hour. This includes showing a helpful video or DVD, which is also suitable for older children, either the child in question or older brothers and sisters. He will discuss what is involved in both the baptism and thanksgiving services and will talk about the resources which are available to help someone grow in the Christian faith.

Baptism of Adults: Those enquiring about baptism as adults will be asked to visit the Rector on two occasions about a fortnight apart and for an hour each. In the first, he will explain what the Church understands by baptism, and in the second the candidate will have the opportunity to ask any questions which may have arisen out of the first meeting or which may have been puzzling them for some time. There is also an opportunity to review the baptism service, which is different for an adult from that of a child, and to discuss practicalities.

When are Baptisms held, and are there charges?
Baptism may be administered on any Sunday of the month subject to availability except for the first Sunday in the month. There will usually be only one family’s baptisms in any one week. This may be either during the main morning service at 11 a.m. at Hope, or at 12:30 p.m. at Hope or 12:45 p.m. at Emmanuel. The main service which lends itself best to the inclusion of a baptism is the Family Service on the fourth Sunday of the month.

There is no charge for a baptism but contributions to the expenses of the church are welcome. Photography is not permitted during a baptism but photographs may be taken immediately afterwards.

The Nature and Meaning of Baptism, otherwise known as Christening

Baptism is the means by which people identify with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, declare their faith in him as Lord and Saviour and become members of the Church. In many churches the water of baptism is administered by sprinkling at the font, but it is important to be aware of the ancient practice of the candidate standing in water, if not totally immersed, for the significance of baptism to be realised.

The baptisms described in the New Testament were principally administered to adults who were responding to what Christ had done for them. However, there are several instances of people being baptised “together with their whole household”, which probably included children not old enough to know what was happening.

The Church therefore offers baptism to adults, and to children “on the understanding that they are brought up as Christians within the family of the Church” – to quote a recent version of the service. Whereas adult candidates will declare their faith for themselves, a child’s parents and godparents make the promises involved on his or her behalf.

Godparents therefore play an important role. The usual rule is for a child to have two godparents of the same sex and one of the opposite sex, but two couples is quite usual and there must be at least one man and one woman. God parents should have been baptised and preferably confirmed also, otherwise they would be in the position of making promises on someone else’s behalf which they have never made for themselves.

To a great extent the effectiveness of a child’s baptism depends on how actively the parents and godparents keep their promises. In this respect baptism is different from inoculation, which may be administered at much the same time, but where no further action is required for the child’s “jabs” to be effective.

An alternative name for baptism is christening, which means becoming like Christ and being made part of his body, which is the Church. The service marks the beginning of the process by which the Christian character is formed in the child, and this involves, prayer, example, worship, Bible reading and the service of others, which will require patience and persistence on the part of their parents. Church in Wales Baptism Service

A THANKSGIVING FOR THE GIFT OF A CHLD
The Church also offers “A Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child” which does not involve making promises, or the application of water, but gives to parents the opportunity to bring their child to church to receive an assurance of God’s blessing and to say Thank You. They may request baptism at a later date if and when they feel that they can make the appropriate commitment.

CONFIRMATION
Confirmation is the means by which a person is made an adult member of the Church. The bishop presides over the service at which candidates repeat the promises made for them by their parents and godparents, if they were baptised as children, and the Bishop prays for the strengthening power of the Holy Spirit. It is usually on this occasion that they are admitted to Holy Communion.