What happens in the baptism service?

Let’s start with a tip – arrive early! The services are popular, so we suggest you arrive here before 10am.  It will be a service of Holy Communion with hymns and songs, and in the middle of the service we gather round the font (a large basin on a pedestal, with the water in it) which is at the back of the church. Parents and godparents are asked to make declarations and promises for themselves and on behalf of the child.

Then, the priest will make the sign of the cross on the child’s forehead. This is an invisible “membership badge”, showing that all Christians are united with Jesus Christ. He will anoint with oil, using a little special oil on the child’s forehead, which is a sign of God’s Holy Spirit being poured out in blessing. The priest will bless the water, in other words, ask God to make the water holy, for use in the baptism. He will ask you to “name this child”. Your child already has a family name (your surname), by being born into your family - and now receives Christian name(s), at the time of welcome into God’s family. Then the priest will baptise the child – sprinkle water on the head. This reminds us of ancient baptisms, which were by “full immersion” – a sign of complete washing, and rising to a new life. Then comes the welcome – when the child is formally welcomed as a member of Christ’s worldwide Church. That is always followed by applause!

The service then continues with Holy Communion, when we invite all to come to the communion rail to receive either the bread and wine or a blessing.

Do we receive anything?

 Yes – there’s a baptismal certificate – an official document to say that the child is baptised; a candle as a reminder that Jesus, the Light of the World, has entered your child’s life; and godparents will each receive a card to remind them of the promises they have made for the child.

Another tip: it’s a good idea to place this card in a diary, a little way into the future, so that when you get to it you have a little reminder (should you need it!) of your task as godparent. Then put the reminder further on in your diary – and so on. Oh, and there may be another little present too – for your child…..

You’ll have other reminders, too – such as photographs you take of the day. We are happy for you to take photos (although we do ask that you kindly refrain from taking photos during the Holy Communion part of the service), and always provide a formal photo opportunity at the end of the service.