Many people want to mark the birth of a child with a service of baptism. If you are interested in having a child baptised, the first thing to do is to come along to church. Whilst this will not make you a Christian any more than going to a garage would turn you into a car, if you are thinking of having a child baptised, it's important to come to church for a number of reasons.
- It's good practice. In the baptism service you will promise to bring your child to church and be part of the church family with them. It would be silly to make you promise to come to church after your child’s baptism if that wasn’t your practice before it.
- It helps you understand the baptism service and the promises you make. Coming to church will help you make sense of what it means to be a Christian and what is involved.
- It helps you get to know us. Baptism is partly about bringing a child into the church family. You will want to know whether ours is a church family that you want yourself and your child to be part of.
- It helps us to get to know you. In the baptism service the whole church family promises that they will welcome your child and pray for them. That is hard for them to do if they have never met you!
We ask that you commit to coming along to services, on a regular basis, for about three months to help you get a feel for things. When you do this, please come and make yourself known to us – it’s always great to meet with new people.
Alongside joining us at our main church meetings, we also ask that all those who would like their child to be baptised to come and spend a few weeks with us looking at the central claims of Jesus Christ in a very informal way.
To this end, each term we run a baptism preparation course for a few weeks (called ‘Christianity Explored) where you will join with other couples, also thinking about baptism. The course runs for six weeks, and at each evening there will be a short presentation from the Bible, on a different aspect of the Christian faith, and then a chance to discuss what we’ve heard. We ask you to do this because the Bible says baptism is a sign that is given to Christian parents and their children. We want to make sure that the promises you make in the baptism service have integrity, and we do not want you to make promises from the front of church that you do not mean. This course therefore gives you a chance to work out whether or not you believe what you’ll be declaring in the baptism service.
We appreciate that for some, it may be the case that church attendance and coming to a six week preparation course is more of a commitment than they are willing to make. If this is the case, we do not want people to be disappointed, and as such we also offer a thanksgiving service as an alternative to baptism. In many ways, this is a very similar service to a service of baptism, only with a thanksgiving, as parents you are not making promises to raise your child as a Christian, and as part of the church. For a service of thanksgiving we do not require you to come to the baptism preparation course, and we only require you to come to church for a few weeks, in order to get to know us a little bit.