Baptism is often called Christening. Baptism comes from the Greek word meaning "to wash"; Christening comes from the Greek word meaning "in Christ". Whichever word is used, when we are Baptised, we are by God's power made members of His church, adopted as His children, and given the new life and hope of the Resurrection.
Everyone is entitled to have their child Baptised or to be Baptised in their parish church. To see what parish you live in, please click on the following link.
Everyone is welcome to be Baptised at St. Peter's and we hope to make it a memorable occasion for you and your family.
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. For all involved, particularly the candidates but also parents, godparents and sponsors, it is a joyful moment when we rejoice in what God has done for us in Christ, making serious promises and declaring the faith. The wider community of the local church and friends welcome the new Christian, promising support and prayer for the future. Hearing and doing these things provides an opportunity to remember our own baptism and reflect on the progress made on that journey, which is now to be shared with this new member of the Church. The service paints many vivid pictures of what happens on the Christian way. There is the sign of the cross, the badge of faith in the Christian journey, which reminds us of Christ’s death for us. Our ‘drowning’ in the water of baptism, where we believe we die to sin and are raised to new life, unites us to Christ’s dying and rising, a picture that can be brought home vividly by the way the baptism is administered.Water is also a sign of new life, as we are born again by water and the Spirit. This reminds us of Jesus’ baptism. And as a sign of that new life, there may be a lighted candle, a picture of the light of Christ conquering the darkness of evil. Everyone who is baptized walks in that light for the rest of their lives.
Things to consider when choosing godparents
What does being a godparent involve?
Godparents have a special role. It's about helping a child to come to know God, encouraging them in their spiritual life and supporting them in their membership of the local church. Godparents will be expected to attend the child's baptism, where they will make promises to help to bring them up in the Christian faith. It's a role that will develop over time, as your godchild grows up and develops their own faith.
It feels like a big resposibility?
It is. Have a look at the questions you will answer in the baptism service. Take some time to think through the commitments you make when you answer them. But don't forget that the Church can support you in encouraging and praying for your godchild.
The promises godparents and parents make during the baptism service.
The priest addresses the candidates directly, or through their parents, godparents and sponsors and they reply with the answers in bold text.
In baptism, God calls us out of darkness into his marvellous light.
To follow Christ means dying to sin and rising to new life with him.
Therefore I ask:
Do you reject the devil and all rebellion against God?
I reject them.
Do you renounce the deceit and corruption of evil?
I renounce them.
Do you repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbour?
I repent of them.
Do you turn to Christ as Saviour?
I turn to Christ.
Do you submit to Christ as Lord?
I submit to Christ.
Do you come to Christ, the way, the truth and the life?
I come to Christ.
I'm not sure I can make these decisions. what if I have not thought much about my faith and don't go to church regularly?
Most people have doubts at some stage, and no one's asking you to be perfect. However, being asked to be a godparent is a good opportunity to think about your own faith. Godparents must have been baptised themselves, and it's best if you are also confirmed, but this is not a requirement. Baptism or confirmation preparation can help you with your own questions about the Christian faith. It will also help you to support your godchild in developing their own faith. If you have any questions at all, why not speak to your parish priest or another Christian you know.
Does being a godparent mean I'm a legal guardian as well?
No. Your role as godparent is a spiritual one - to encourage and pray for your godchild. Perhaps you will be asked to be a guardian too, but that is separate from being a godparent.
Building a relationship with your godchild
You're a godparent. Now what? Both you and your godchild will get far more out of this relationship if you can keep it alive. Children love to get letters, postcards and emails. Why not send a card or small gift on the anniversary of the baptism, to show you care about them and to remind you both of what's special about this relationship. Keep in touch regularly as they grow up. Perhaps when they're older, they'll want to ask questions about faith or Christian life. If you've kept in touch, they might be able to ask you - and that's something special.
Growing in faith. Confirmation.
Hopefully, later on your godchild will want to make his or her own declaration of faith at a confirmation service. Confirmation is an important occasion. Your godchild confirms the promises you made for them at the baptism service and the bishop leading the service prays for God's Holy Spirit to rest upon your godchild. Before their confirmation, they attend a series of classes or meetings at their local church or school. They discuss what it means to be a Christian, so they can decide whether to make their own Christian commitment and how they'll express that in their own lives.