Those who bring children for Baptism (or Christening as it is sometimes
called) are expressing a desire to bring them up within the life of the
Church, so that they will benefit from the positive values, accepting
friendships and spiritual resources that accompany faith in Jesus Christ.
Some parents do not feel ready to make the promises required by the Baptism service, but still
want to mark the birth of their child in a special way. In this case, it is better to come for a
Thanksgiving service, where we simply express gratitude for our children and pray for God's
blessing on them. But whichever option you choose we will seek to help you get the best out
of this special time and so with that in mind we have developed the following way of doing things.
1. Make Contact
Before making any other arrangements please have a word with Richard, our Vicar, in order to express your interest in bringing for a service of Baptism or Thanksgiving. Dates may be discussed at this stage but cannot be finalised until after the preparation course (see below).
2. Come to Church
We ask you to start attending Church as a way of preparing for your child's special day. It will help you get a 'feel' for what St. John's Church is all about and to reflect on your own beliefs and values.
3. Preparation Course
You will need to take part in a 2-hour Saturday morning course and possible dates for this will be suggested when you first make contact. This will be very informal and not at all pressurised or embarrassing. You will learn a little of what it means to be a Christian today and be able to decide whether a service of Thanksgiving or Baptism would be the best option for you. Over fresh coffee and pastries you'll have chance to meet other parents on the course and to ask the the Vicar any questions you have. At this stage service dates can be finalised.
4. Fixing the Date
Baptisms and Thanksgivings usually take place at 1.00pm on the first Sunday of each month, though other dates and times will be considered. There may be more than one child involved but the service is just for their families and friends.
5. The Service
You should try to arrive at least 15 minutes before the start of the service. Then relax and enjoy the experience! We usually sing a couple of well-known hymns and the service lasts about 30 minutes.
6. Church Welcome
Because most of the church members are not present at your service,
you are asked to come to the next all-age service at St. John's, where
you and your child will be 'officially' welcomed into the congregation.
On this occasion you will also receive a Baptism or Thanksgiving Certificate.
7. Ongoing Involvement
We hope that afterwards you will continue to attend Sunday worship and other church events. We are a very family-friendly church and becoming involved will help you to develop your own faith and to nurture your children in theirs.
8. Annual Baptism Party
Once a year we invite all our baptism/thanksgiving families to a celebration in the church hall. There's a bouncy castle, face painting and party food and also a short informal service.