Welcome to God’s world!
The birth of your child is a unique moment of exception: new life, new love, new hope. It is good and natural that you would want to welcome your little one into the world amongst family and friends, and to seek God’s blessing on his or her life. At its core, this is what baptism is, and it is the Church’s great privilege to give voice to this blessing through baptism – a ritual bath with water, given in the name of the Christian God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are pleased to welcome you.
Is baptism right for us?
However, baptism is not simply a rite of welcoming, however. Baptism follows after Christ’s own baptism by St. John the Baptist in the River Jordan, and it brings a person into membership with the church. It thus requires from parents and godparents a declaration of Christian faith and a promise to raise your child in that faith. These vows are solemn; they hold the same kind of importance as marriage vows, and “are not to be entered into lightly or thoughtlessly”. Once baptised, a person will then be recognised as a part of the church community for the rest of his or her life.
The people of St. John’s truly wish to support you in this decision. Naturally, we understand what a juggling act it is to raise a family, and we know that some will have doubts about committing to regular Sunday worship. That said, in baptism, you are asking us to declare that your child is one of our people, and in return we are asking you, with our support, to honour that declaration in some meaningful way.
Anyone can be baptised.
However, we are not the “Church Police”. We welcome any child – or adult – for baptism, and we understand that a decision to follow up the baptismal promises is yours alone to make. However, if you feel on reflection that making these promises is not the right way forward, we are still most happy to offer a thanksgiving service in which the central act will be a public blessing and celebration of God’s unique love for your child.
You have questions. wE have answers.
These may not be the only things you want to know – in which case, ask anything you need to when you make your initial enquiry with the form below. 🙂
The basic shape of the service is a welcome and opening prayer, a reading from scripture, a few words from the priest about what baptism is, the administration of the baptismal vows, the baptism itself, and the presentation of the newly-baptised person(s) with a few symbols of the Christian faith. The service concludes with a blessing.
If you’re curious, you can find a copy of the Church in Wales’s baptism service by clicking here.
We normally conduct our baptisms at 12:30 on a Sunday at St. John’s, shortly after the main Sunday service. The ideal is to conduct baptisms within the church’s main worship, so that the regular congregation can welcome the newly-baptised and pledge their support to stand with you as your raise your young one in the Christian faith. That said, with the number of baptisms we do annually at St. John’s, and the numbers normally invited by the family, a stand-alone service is often more practical.
There is no set rule. It’s never really too early nor too late. Although parents tend to bring children for baptism mid-way through their first year, we have baptised people from 3 days old to adulthood. It’s also not unusual for more than one child in a family – or even a parent – to be baptised together. If a child had grown old enough to know his or her own mind, the priest will wish to confirm that the child is actually happy to be baptised and has a general understanding, age-appropriate, of what will be happening.
Yes, of course! From the very beginning, Christians welcomed adult converts. If you have not previously been baptised and wish to join the Christian Church, then please let us know. Perhaps, as an unbaptised parent, you might find it appropriate to join the Church as your child does. Perhaps you need to be baptised in order to serve as a godparent. Perhaps you’ve found yourself on a spiritual journey and now wish to explore your place in our faith community. In whatever case, please feel free to contact us for an informal chat.
In practice, not a thing. “Baptism” is the act of ritual washing given in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. “Christening” refers to bringing a child into the Christian community … which is done through the act of baptism.
Contrary to popular belief, baptism is not a requirement for a church wedding. If you wish for your child to be baptised for any reason other than the baptism itself, you may wish to consider a service of thanksgiving instead.
Godparents are trusted friends – special, close, and loyal – who themselves are baptised, who sponsor your child into church membership and promise to help you raise your child in the Christian faith. We ask you to consider well who is likely best to fulfil that role; some godparents take the responsibility more seriously than others.
On a practical level, we require godparents to be baptised themselves, because it is on their word that the child is sponsored into the community, and you can’t sponsor someone into a community of which you yourself are not a member. It is customary to have at least two people, one male and one female, to serve as godparents. It is also not uncommon to have four godparents. If you need help considering these matters, we’ll be happy to advise. If you have a godparent in mind who is not baptised, please let us know, and we will be happy to discuss the options for honouring thanksgiving person’s relationship with you and your child in a suitable fashion.
No! Absolutely not! We do not charge you to proclaim God’s love for your precious child. It really is that simple. We do leave out a collection basket and a card reader at services, and we are always grateful for donations. We hope that you will see the value in helping us to keep this church open and in your community. But baptism is God’s gift to your child and our gift to you.