Baptisms at St. John the Evangelist
Baptisms at St John’s
A child is a wonderful gift from God and it’s right that we want to celebrate such a fantastic present. The Church of England offers two approaches – thanksgiving and baptism
Both are ways of celebrating the life of your child which involve making promises to God with the support of close friends.
Both offer the opportunity for a family celebration, and take place in church so the church can welcome and commit themselves to pray for you in the nurture of your child.
The main difference is in the extent and depth of Christian commitment that each form of service expresses.
Baptism for babies and children takes place in a service often called a Christening. In this service parents thank God for his gift of life, make a decision to start their child on a journey of faith and godparents promise help and support. The church also promises to welcome the child and to pray for the family.
For your child, being baptized at a Christening marks the start of a lifelong journey of faith as part of the local and worldwide Christian family
What is Baptism?
o A Sacrament (source of God’s grace, forgiveness and inspiration) by which we are ‘christened’ or made ‘Christ’s
o God calls us to be disciples in our generation. As disciples we begin a lifelong response to God’s invitation to be in a relationship with Him.
o We try to model our lives on Jesus example, seeking to become Christ-like in every aspect of our lives.
o We commit the candidate and ourselves to become part of the local Church by coming to church regularly, growing in and living out the faith, and serving God in the world.
o The Holy Spirit guides us and inspires us to imitate Christ’s example. As we learn to pray, we learn to be attentive to the Holy Spirit.
o Being baptised does not stop us getting hurt by life-events, or even hurting others. This is what we mean by ‘sin’. The world can be a dark and painful place. Baptism does, however, help us to trust God to make all things right and like in any relationship, when we say sorry, God forgives us and takes away our pain and guilt. As baptised people we serve God and each other by ‘shining as lights’ to overcome this darkness
The Role of the Parents and God Parents
o The candidate’s parents and godparents speak on behalf of those who are too young to make decisions for themselves.
o They promise to pray for the candidates, and be good examples of Christian Discipleship to their children and god children, journeying alongside them as the candidate takes their place in the Church.
Key Words, Phrases and Symbols Used in the Service
Ø Sacrament – a rite which uses material things as signs and pledges of God’s grace, giving us His gifts. Baptism is the sacrament which brings us into the full life of the Church. The others are The Eucharist, Confession, Anointing the Sick, Confirmation, Marriage and Holy Orders (Please speak to Fr. Owain if you wish to know more about any of these)
Ø God’s Grace – His forgiveness, inspiration and strength
Ø Anointing – as Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit of God at His own baptism, candidates are twice anointed during the service with Holy Oils, symbolising what is taking place. We anoint the candidates with the cross, the sign or badge of the Church
Ø Oil of Catechumen’s – Candidates are anointed with this immediately after the Decision. Catechumen’s are students beginning a life-long journey of growth in the Christian faith which begins with baptism.
Ø Oil of Chrism – Candidates are anointed with this immediately after their immersion. It symbolises that in baptism, candidates are made part of Christ’s royal priesthood of all believers.
Ø Water – washes away the original sin of Adam, refreshes our souls as we enter into Christ’s life, and brings renewal and growth within us.
Ø Paschal Candle – paschal comes from the old word for Passover, and we believe that Jesus is the Passover Lamb of God. The Pascal Candle symbolises Christ’s presence among us and the candidates baptism candle is lit from this
Ø The Baptised – are made disciples of Christ, called to worship and serve God in our lives, to grow closer to God and each other through love, and be a good example of human living in the world
Ø Prayer – our attentiveness to God – at its simplest, prayer is a conversation with God. Sometimes we talk, sharing our joys, sorrows, and needs, at other times we listen to What He has to say to us.
Ø The Church – means both the people and the buildings. A gathering of people who wish to worship and serve God, grow closer to Him and receive His grace. It is not a gathering of holy and respectable people who wish to set themselves aside from the rest of humanity, rather it is a gathering of people who know themselves to be broken and in need of God’s forgiveness, healing and peace. (“Come to me all who are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” Matt. 11:28)
For all enquires regarding Baptisms, please call Fr Owain on 01652 653989
Some parents might want to celebrate the gift of a child in a different way without the commitment that baptism involves. During the Thanksgiving service parents and families give thanks for the birth or adoption of a child and everyone prays for family life. It can take place in church with the congregation, or with just family and friends gathered, or elsewhere such as home, or even in hospital.
A Thanksgiving Service is not a Baptism. There are no promises to make about the Christian faith. The child will be blessed and prayed for, and supporting friends will promise to support the parents in bringing up their baby.
For more information, please call Fr Owain on 01652 653989
All details of the services are available at www.churchofengland.org