What are you wanting?
Baptism/Christening... or Thanksgiving...
Many people are not aware there are different services or what they mean.
Are you wanting to give thanks for your child and to ask for God's blessing on him or her?
Are you wanting to bring your child up as a member of the church family and receive the support and also make the commitment this involves?
Maybe you’re not sure but you know you want to do something.
A Service of Thanksgiving
The act of Thanksgiving is part of a Sunday service. The focus is on giving thanks for the safe arrival of a new child and on seeking God's blessing. Some families want to have sponsors, very much like godparents, who will promise to help the child through life. Normally we sign the child with water in the sign of the cross as a sign of God's blessing. Sponsors do not need to be baptised, nor are you or friends asked to make promises which at the present you feel you are not in a place to keep.
The Baptism Service (also sometimes called a Christening)
There is no difference between a baptism service and a christening service. Some churches will use the word ‘baptism’ and some the word ‘christening’. The moment when your child has water poured or wiped on their head is the actual baptism and is at the heart of the service. Babies are baptised during a christening service just as couples are ‘married’ during a ‘wedding’ service.
Baptism means different things to different people but the act of baptism is very simple. It is the pouring of water over a person, or the immersing of the person in water, in the name of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The meaning and implications of this simple action are profound but the word ‘Covenant’ which is used both at a baptism and a wedding service provide us with a clue. Basically it means that we and God enter into an agreement. It’s not just what we do, or what God does, but just like at a wedding, it is what we commit to do together. It is important therefore to know what the agreement or covenant is about.
What does Baptism mean?
Baptism has several strands of meanings.
It is about a new beginning. New beginnings, a fresh start, a new birth are all image from the Bible. Baptism is a spiritual birth which is the beginning of a new spiritual life.
It is about belonging. Belonging to the family of God is to be part of worldwide family which we join through a particular group within that family, your local church
It is about deciding. Deciding to follow Jesus doesn’t happen except by a decision, which is made by parents or by the person being baptised. Like all our decisions this has implications.
It makes no sense to wish to join the family of God unless we wish to be part of that family (and for our children to be part of this family). Baptism should continue in regular church going.
Following God in today’s world isn’t easy. Choosing baptism is a commitment but your church is there to help you on your journey.
Joining a family challenges the ethos of the individual which is so strong in today's culture but belonging brings benefits too.
Godparents take on part of the responsibility of praying for their godchild and setting an example in their worship and way of life. Church law asks that parents to choose God parents who are baptised and ideally confirmed.
So Baptism is about...
Belonging to the Family of God, which is a worldwide family and which forms a part of every local community
Beginning a new journey on which you will be receiving the help and encouragement of your local church that you will need on your journey of faith .
Knowing God who keeps his promises and experiencing his love
For more information contact Reverend Graeme Anderson on 07528 765027 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will guide you through everything you need to know to make this a very special occasion.