Baptism and Christening
If you are thinking about baptism for yourself or for your child, this page provides helpful information about what is involved, and how we do baptisms at St Paulinus. Please do get in touch to discuss a baptism booking.
What is it?
Baptism and Christening are two words for the same thing: it is a ceremony where someone begins their journey of faith, is welcomed into the life of the Church, and commits to following Jesus Christ in their life. Jesus himself was baptised by John the Baptist, and told his followers to do the same. The washing of water is highly symbolic of cleansing and new life, of passing through water to claim the freedom and promises of God’s grace.
People of all ages can be baptised. For young children, it is parents and godparents who make promises on their behalf, committing to raising the child in the life of the Church and encouraging their faith in God through prayer, example and guidance. If you are considering how soon to book your new baby’s baptism, it is often easiest to baptise children when they are under a year old, as this reduces the wriggling and crying when it comes time for the water to be poured on the head! Children who are tall enough may stand at the font rather than being held by the priest.
For teenagers or adults, we hold a course each year to prepare them for all that following Jesus and belonging to the Church will involve, and to help them understand what they commit to. They are usually ‘confirmed’ by the Bishop at the same time, which is when they are anointed and the Holy Spirit is asked to come and fill them and seal their faith.
Baptisms and Preparation at St Paulinus
Child baptisms happen usually once a month, on a Sunday at 12:30pm, lasting up to an hour. Dates can be found at the bottom of this page. Given the number of candidates, there may be up to four baptisms in one service, which adds to the sense of occasion. If you do not live in the parish, but have a connection with St Paulinus Church, we ask that you seek the permission of your own parish priest as a courtesy, and as they may have groups or services to help you in your family’s journey of faith.
All families attend a short, informal Baptism Preparation session in the Church on a Saturday morning. You’ll be greeted with refreshments and a chance to meet one of the priests and other families, with a short talk to help us think about this special step and how to make a connection with church and faith for you and your child. The week before the baptism, you will be contacted by a member of our Baptism Visiting team, who will arrange to come and meet you and talk through the service itself, and answer any questions you may have about arrangements for the day.
Adult baptisms usually happen once a year with the visit of the Bishop, within the Confirmation service, and this provides a conclusion to the ‘Emmaus’ preparation course, which begins in September each year. For more information, speak to a member of the ministry team at a church service.
What should I do about godparents?
It has long been a custom for children to be given godparents, both to support the parents in their duties, and to offer guidance and encouragement on the child’s spiritual journey. Though parents do not need themselves to be baptised, godparents must have been baptised, as they must have made the promises for themselves that they make then on behalf of the child. They need not be saints, but nor are they just an honorary or token role. Legally, there must be at least three godparents, including one male and one female, and they must be baptised. Parents, though, may serve as godparents if they are baptised.
When considering who to ask to be a godparent, you might like to think:
- Who will be around enough to take a substantial role in our child’s life?
- Who do we respect as a thoughtful and caring person, who will take the duty seriously?
- Who do we know who has a faith in God, and lives that out?
What promises do I have to make?
Here are the promises that parents and godparents must make within the service:
Parents and godparents, the Church receives these children with joy.
Today we are trusting God for their growth in faith.
Will you pray for them, draw them by your example into the community of faith, and walk with them in the way of Christ?
With the help of God, we will.
In baptism these children begin their journey of faith.
You speak for them today. Will you care for them, and help them to take their place within the life and worship of Christ’s Church?
With the help of God, we will.
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.
As with any promise, especially one made before God, it takes careful consideration and thought, and it is important to make these promises ring true in our lives, so we encourage families and candidates to find their place in the ongoing life and worship of their local church.
How do I book a baptism?
Baptism dates for 2018 are:
August 2nd & 23rd
To book, please contact the Parish Office on 01322 557532.
Upcoming dates may be full, but you will be advised of availability and of relevant Preparation dates when you call.
Here are some photos of a recent baptism at St Paulinus