From the earliest followers of Jesus, Christians have been baptising people, young and old alike. Baptism has been and remains a huge event in the life of anyone seeking to follow Jesus. For your child it will mark the beginning of a journey with God which should last a lifetime.
Within St James and Emmanuel children are normally baptised at St James’ in a private service on the 3rd Sunday of the month at 12.30 pm. There will usually be a couple of other children baptised at that service – up to a maximum of three families and their guests. If it’s important for you to celebrate the baptism of your child in a main public act of worship then this can be accommodated on the 1st Sunday of the month at either Emmanuel or St James, but please mention this during the process as the default choice is 3rd Sunday at 12.30 pm.
Given Baptism marks the beginning of a life-long journey with God, it requires some serious promises to be made by you as parents, your child’s godparents and the whole congregation. You and your child’s godparents will promise to live out the Christian faith, and to support the development of your child’s personal Christian faith as they grow into adulthood. Although fulfilling, no one pretends that this is easy and so the church family will also promise to support you and your child.
The act of baptism itself normally involves the minister pouring some (warm!) water upon your child’s head and this is followed with the gift of a candle and a Bible. The candle is a reminder that everyone who is baptised is expected to shine with, and share, the love of God. The Bible is the source of all Christian teaching and so reading it is key to being able to honour the promises made during baptism. An example service is available here.
In addition to the parents of the children, each child needs to have at least three godparents. All godparents need to have been baptised themselves. Given the promises they have to make you need to think carefully about whom you ask to undertake such a significant role. Will they help in the spiritual development of your child through their prayers and example?
Is a Baptism for you and your child?
Although people have historically chosen to have their child baptised for all kinds of reasons, at its heart a Baptism is about making an important Christian commitment on behalf of your child. If you would like to entrust your child to God and to commit to supporting their spiritual development in an explicitly Christian way, then Baptism is for you.