Baptism is a service of Christian initiation; and while the Church of England traditionally offers baptism to infants there is no age requirement on baptism – it is also available to all people, regardless of their age, so long as they have not been baptised previously. In a service of baptism for babies and children, the parents and godparents make a commitment to pray for the child and to draw him or her in the community of faith; to walk with them in the way of Christ; and to help them to take their place within the life and worship of Christ’s Church. In adult baptism, the candidates make the promises for themselves.
Although Baptisms should ideally take place within a regular act of Sunday worship so that the newly Baptised can be properly welcomed into the full worshipping community, we are aware that this is not always practical. We are therefore happy to conduct a separate private service at another time – or even day – if you would prefer. We would ensure however, that there is always a member of our existing Church family there to represent everyone else during the service.
Once you have set the date, the minister who will be conducting the service will arrange to come and see you. They will want to take some details, such as the full name and date of birth of the person being Baptised and also the full names of the parents and God parents. They will also gently go through the service with you and explain exactly what everything means and why it takes place.
Although the central parts of the service are set in stone, it is still possible to make it personal by the careful choice of music, hymns and readings. The minister will be happy to give you some suggestions for readings, both Biblical and not, however please don’t think that you are restricted to these. Also, if the parents have a wedding candle, or there are older brothers or sisters who have already have a Baptism candle, we can incorporate those into the service as well.
Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child.
Because we don’t want to force you to do or say anything that you don’t feel comfortable with or make promises that you know you will struggle to keep we are also happy to offer a service of Thanksgiving for the gift of a child.
This service is not the same as Baptism (sometimes called Christening), which is the sacrament of initiation into membership of the Church, the Body of Christ. Nor is it inferior to Baptism, or second best. Instead the main aim is to bring all the family and friends together to give thanks to God for the gift of a child in a church-setting. This service may also be used when the parents believe Baptism is something that a person should seek for themselves after they have become a Christian.
Once again we would do all we possibly can to make this service as personal and meaningful for you as possible.
Fees & Charges
The simple answer is that there is no charge for joining the Church of England – so the service itself is free. However, the organist will need to be paid if you wish to have hymns or other music played by him. There will also be a plate at the back of church for donations as you leave (although we promise not to trip anyone up if they walk straight past!)
If you are considering a Baptism or service of Thanksgiving for the gift of a child please contact our vicar the Rev’d Fiona Haskett: Telephone 01622 891804 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org who will be only too happy to help or answer any questions.
These links might help you plan your day:
Suggested Readings for Baptism of Children
Suggested Secular Readings for Baptism of Children
WEALD DEANERY: www.deaneryintheweald.org.uk
CANTERBURY DIOCESE: www.canterburydiocese.org