And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’ Matthew 28.18-20
We are always delighted when people contact us asking about the Sacrament of Christian Baptism. This page is intended to be as helpful as possible in helping you to approach this wonderful event in the right way, answering questions which people frequently ask us and (hopefully) removing any anxiety in the process.
- Who can be baptised?
In the Church of England everyone has a right to be baptised in their own parish church. If you are seeking Baptism and do not live in the parish you will need to contact your local parish church to seek their blessing for the baptism to take place at Holy Trinity. To find out more about which parish you live in, go to https://www.achurchnearyou.com/ and enter your home postcode. This will show your home parish and contact details.
- Are ‘Baptism’ and ‘Christening’ the same thing?
Yes, they are. Each word teaches us something different about what is happening. ‘Baptism’ comes from a Greek word meaning ‘to plunge’, and originally baptism would have meant being fully immersed in water, which still happens in some traditions, while Christening refers to the idea that those who are baptised are ‘putting on’ Christ. (Romans 13.14). This means actively following Jesus, and living to please him.
- So – what is Baptism (or Christening)?
Baptism is the event which marks the beginning of the Christian life. It is a joyful event, but also something that shouldn’t be done lightly, or without serious consideration or preparation. It also isn’t a one-off event. It is the beginning of a life-long journey as a Christian. Infants are baptised on the understanding that they will attend church with their families, and seek to grow in the faith. In due course they will come to an important moment as they are confirmed, having been brought up to understand how important their life in Jesus Christ is. At confirmation they candidate is able to make the baptismal promises for themselves, as the Bishop bids the Holy Spirit of God to live within them.
Baptism sets us free from sin. It draws us, for ever, into God’s plan. We receive great gifts and graces from baptism. We are brought into fellowship with the great family of Jesus which is the church.
So, in agreeing to baptism for a child, parents and godparents are making a commitment to walk this journey with the child. It requires commitment and a real desire to be part of the church and her ongoing life.
The main part of baptism is the moment when the priest pours or sprinkles water on the head of the child and says ‘N, I baptise you in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’. These three persons constitute the one God, the God for whom this church is dedicated.
The child is also anointed on the forehead with holy oil, (set aside for the purpose by the Bishop) using the Sign of the Cross. The child is also presented with a lit candle, which is a smaller version of the Paschal Candle which stands next to the font. The large candle is brought into church every Easter Eve, when the church celebrates the light of the Risen Jesus, shattering darkness as he rises from the dead.
Baptism washes us free from sin and sets us free to be the person God intends us to be. We become ‘family’ in a very special way – the company of the baptised (which is what the church is) is a massive, worldwide family.
- What about Godparents?
It’s a wonderful thing to ask those who are close to us to share in the care and nurture of our children. Godparents are important. As the name suggests, they have a responsibility to enable the child to be brought up in the faith, and as such they should all be baptised and confirmed. If this presents difficulties do please speak to us. Members of the congregation are always happy to fulfil this important role. According to Canon Law (the Law that governs the Church of England) godparents need to be at least 16 years of age.
How can I be a good Godparent?
- By modelling the life of prayer and Christian worship.
- By talking to the child about the life of Jesus, the Bible and by accompanying them to church where possible.
- By being faithful, and loving, standing up for truth and justice, demonstrating compassion and charity.
- By encouraging, asking and answering questions,
- What is involved in Baptism Preparation?
Good preparation is essential to make the day memorable and to understand the significance of what is going on. The first step is to start to attend church on Sunday mornings. This helps you to be familiar with the surroundings and be made welcome by the Holy Trinity family. There is another booklet which describes what happens when we worship for people who are less familiar with what happens. (Of course, you can also ask!) There will be meetings with clergy and a Baptism Visitor who will help to get you ready and guide you through the baptism itself.
- What is the cost of Holy Baptism in the church?
Baptism is free. There is no charge for it. We do however welcome donations and contributions to church funds, especially in the heating and lighting the church.
Infant Baptismal Preparation Policy
Our policy is to offer The Sacrament of Holy Baptism to any and all who request it, regardless of age or background. We recognise Baptism as the gateway to life with Jesus Christ, as the moment of incorporation into the Body of Christ which is His Church, and as the moment of regeneration for the new and eternal life God longs to give his people. We also recognise the challenge of assisting parents and godparents in the task of honouring the vows they make, so that children may indeed come to confirmation and the fullness of the life of Worship.
Accordingly, we wish to offer the warmest possible welcome to all enquirers and to demonstrate the works of God embodied in this community. This will be shown as follows:
All who come to us desiring Baptism will be welcomed by the Parish during the 9.30 am Mass six weeks before the actual date of baptism and will be anointed with the Oil of Catechumens. The ‘Catechumen’ is the person being prepared for Baptism, and this oil is blessed by the Bishop to help and strengthen the child as they are prepared for Baptism and for Christian life. In Ancient Greece, wrestlers were anointed with oil as they prepared for a wrestling match.
- The family will be encouraged to join us for worship on Sunday mornings as preparation for the Baptism itself and will be visited in the home prior to the Baptism.
- There will also be a rehearsal prior to the Baptism for Parents, Godparents, and members of the family.
- The normative practice will be to baptise during the 9:30 Sunday Mass.
- There will be follow up to each Baptism in the form of invitations to join us regularly for worship, invitation to specific activities for Children and Young People, inclusion on a Parish Mailing list, and anniversary cards sent on the anniversary of Baptism.
Fr Damian Feeney (Parish Priest)
07949 570387. email@example.com
Fr Ross Brooks (Parish Curate)
07774 057213. firstname.lastname@example.org
Fr Adam Edwards (Assistant Priest)
07523 907180 email@example.com
Mrs. Jane Scott (Reader and Baptism Visitor)
07908 122669 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Liturgy of Baptism
Presentation of the Candidate
Faith is the gift of God to his people. In baptism the Lord is adding to our number those whom he is calling. People of God, will you welcome N. and uphold him in his new life in Christ?
With the help of God, we will.
The priest then says to the parents and godparents
Parents and godparents, the Church receives N. 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 N. begins their journey in 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.
The Paschal candle is lit. The priest addresses the candidate through their parents and godparents
In baptism, God calls us out of darkness into his marvellous light. To follow Christ means dying to sin and rising to new life with him. Therefore I ask:
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.
Signing with the Cross
The priest makes the sign of the cross on the forehead of each candidate, saying
Christ claims you for his own. Receive the sign of his cross. Do not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified.
All Fight valiantly as a disciple of Christ against sin, the world and the devil, and remain faithful to Christ to the end of your life.
May almighty God deliver you from the powers of darkness, restore in you the image of his glory, and lead you in the light and obedience of Christ. Amen.
Prayer over the Water
Praise God who made heaven and earth,
who keeps his promise for ever.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give thanks and praise.
We thank you, almighty God, for the gift of water to sustain, refresh and cleanse all life. Over water the Holy Spirit moved in the beginning of creation. Through water you led the children of Israel
from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land. In water your Son Jesus received the baptism of John and was anointed by the Holy Spirit as the Messiah, the Christ, to lead us from the death of sin to newness of life. We thank you, Father, for the water of baptism. In it we are buried with Christ in his death. By it we share in his resurrection. Through it we are reborn by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, in joyful obedience to your Son, we baptize into his fellowship those who come to him in faith. Now sanctify this water that, by the power of your Holy Spirit, he may be cleansed from sin and born again. Renewed in your image, may he walk by the light of faith and continue for ever in the risen life of Jesus Christ our Lord; to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be all honour and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
Profession of Faith
The priest addresses the congregation
Brothers and sisters, I ask you to profess together with N. the faith of the Church.
Do you believe and trust in God the Father?
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
Do you believe and trust in his Son Jesus Christ?
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
Do you believe and trust in the Holy Spirit?
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.
The priest pours water on him, saying
N., I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The priest says
May God, who has received you by baptism into his Church, pour upon you the riches of his grace, that within the company of Christ’s pilgrim people you may daily be renewed by his anointing Spirit, and come to the inheritance of the saints in glory. Amen.
We have brought N. to baptism knowing that Jesus died and rose again for them and trusting in the promise that God hears and answers prayer. We have prayed that in Jesus Christ he will know the forgiveness of their sins and the new life of the Spirit.
As they grow up, they will need the help and encouragement of the Christian community, so that he may learn to know God in public worship and private prayer, follow Jesus Christ in the life of faith, serve their neighbour after the example of Christ, and in due course come to confirmation.
As part of the Church of Christ, we all have a duty to support them by prayer, example and teaching. As their parents and godparents, you have the prime responsibility for guiding and helping them in their early years. This is a demanding task for which you will need the help and grace of God. Therefore let us now pray for grace in guiding N. in the way of faith.
Faithful and loving God, bless those who care for N.
and grant them your gifts of love, wisdom and faith.
Pour upon them your healing and reconciling love, and protect their home from all evil. Fill them with the light of your presence and establish them in the joy of your kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
God of grace and life, in your love you have given us
a place among your people; keep us faithful to our baptism, and prepare us for that glorious day when the whole creation will be made perfect in your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
N., today God has touched you with his love and given you a place among his people. God promises to be with you in joy and in sorrow, to be your guide in life, and to bring you safely to heaven. In baptism God invites you on a life-long journey. Together with all God’s people you must explore the way of Jesus and grow in friendship with God, in love for his people, and in serving others. With us you will listen to the word of God and receive the gifts of God.
There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism:
N., by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body.
We welcome you into the fellowship of faith; we are children of the same heavenly Father; we welcome you.
The Lord’s Prayer
Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, establish, strengthen and settle you in the faith; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.
May God bless you, your families and friends, as you ponder the next steps and what they will mean for you!