BAPTISMS


The arrival of a new baby is always something worth celebrating.  Our natural instinct is to bring family, friends and loved ones together to celebrate the new arrival.  On such an occasion it feels natural to thank God for the safe delivery of a new baby, to celebrate its new life and to begin the child's journey of faith and belonging by having him/her baptised. 
 

Here at St. Giles we will offer you a very warm welcome.  Baptism is of course much more than just a service of thanksgiving and celebration.  The church regards baptism as an act of faith that marks a desire to belong to the Christian community.  At baptism parents and godparents promise to bring children up in the Christian faith until they are old enough to decide their faith for themselves and go forward for Confirmation. 


For more details and information please contact:either:

See also the front page of this website for a downloadable application form.

In order to have your child baptised at St. Giles we would prefer you to live in the parish so that you can forge a link between your family and your parish church, and attend a church that is local.

We do baptise children who live outside the parish, but in this case parents will need to seek the written permission of their local Church of England parish priest who will have to sign a form, which we will give you.  

It is our policy to baptise all first-born children. But in order for brothers or sisters to be baptised it is important that there is some kind of involvement and engagement, we would look for some involvement and engagement with the church through Sunday School, All Age Worship, or Mother and Toddler groups.

Coming to church needn’t be a chore!  At St. Giles we have a great deal to offer children and young families. 

We run an excellent Sunday School which meets three Sundays a month (2nd, 3rd and 4th) in St. Giles’ Centre at 10.00 am, (please see website page) .


All Age Worship (first Sunday of the month, please see website page for the year's calendar) – a service designed with the needs of children and young families in mind.  Children never forget their experience of church worship and Sunday School. 


At St. Giles they will gain knowledge of God’s love and a good foundation of faith that will stay with them and help them for the rest of their lives. We do recognise and appreciate how busy and hectic modern life can be, and we in no way want to place yet another “ought to” on an already long list of others.  Consequently, once a month attendance at either Sunday School or All Age Worship is fine if this is all that is manageable. 

Please note that parents and godparents must have been baptised .  There is no limit to the number of godparents, as long as it is within reasonable bounds. 

Baptisms are usually preceded by Baptism Preparation and we will be in touch with you about this.  More information will be sent to you prior to the date of your service.

 

Some thoughts about Baptisms

The key symbol of baptism is water.  In fact the word 'baptism' means to dip and the word 'font' comes from a Latin word meaning spring.  In order for life to begin waters have to break and we have to pass through the waters of birth into the world.  We start off life in the darkness of our mother's womb, solitary and alone, only dimly aware of our environment.  When we are born we are born into light and relationships.  As we grow we become aware of the  people around us and their love for us and so our sense of belonging grows.

In a way baptism is a parallel process.  Once again waters break over the infant's head and the child is reborn into the light and love of God and is invited to grow in awareness of God who is heavenly Father to us all.  In natural birth we need the support and love of our family.  In spiritual birth we also need the love and support of our Christian family, which is what we call the Church. 



Water is a powerful symbol, it conveys cleansing, refreshment, life and growth.  In baptism all these gifts are conveyed. 

The cleansing of our souls from sin and the potential to sin which is in all human nature; the refreshment and growth that water brings to plants and life is symbolically at work in the refreshment and growth that we need within ourselves. 

Signing of the Cross.

The service also includes two further symbols - the marking of the child with a sign of the cross with Holy oil.  At the heart of Christianity is the death of Jesus on the cross.  Jesus died to forgive us our sins and the mistakes of the past. He also died to teach us how to forgive and love more fully. 


Our need for forgiveness and love is our greatest need.  Without it, it is impossible for us to love ourselves and others.  In all of us, and within all of our families and circle of friends, there will be some issues going on that require the grace and power of forgiveness. 

Either we will need to know that God has forgiven us or that somebody else has forgiven us and they may well need to know that we have forgiven them.  By making the sign of the cross on the infant's forehead we mark him or her with the badge of the Christian faith and in doing so we acknowledge that love and forgiveness are indispensible for happy and healthy human growth and development.

Giving of a lighted candle:

After your child's baptism we will invite you back to Church so you can receive a lighted candle on behalf of your child.  The symbol of light is a very powerful one. The Bible describes Jesus as the light of the world because he brings love, forgiveness, healing and direction in a world that can feel very dark and confusing.  At Baptism your child has been baptised into the light of God's unconditional and eternal love, this is acknowledged by the giving and receiving of a lighted candle.  It is the prayer of the Church that your child will grow  to shine as a light in the world, fulfilling their potential and sharing the good things of faith and life with those around them.  Lighted candles are also used to celebrate our birthday, in baptism the lighted candle also represents the day your child was born again.   It is important that the candle is given in front of the whole congregation so that the regular members of the Church can extend a warm welcome to its newest member.

I hope these reflections have helped you to gain a clear understanding of what baptism means and what the symbolism conveys. 

What next?

The Church of England baptises children on the understanding that they are brought up as Christians.  In the Church of England we see faith as a journey.  In the early years of our life we are reliant on others to show us the way and to teach us the vital life skills that we need, such as cleaning our teeth and crossing the road safely.  As we share with our children the practical skills they need to live and grow, so it is important that we share with them the spiritual skills they need in order to develop their own faith and understanding of Christian life. 




We can help them by doing some of the following:

Why not make prayers part of your child's bedtime ritual?  This could consist of the Lord's Prayer and a prayer for the family.

At reading age why not include a children's Bible in their set of favourite books?

Why not bring them to Church and Sunday School so they become familiar with the building, the people and worship and the experience of worship?

Remember:

If we don't do this for our children it is unlikely that they will receive it within the modern education system.

If we can be of any help in the ongoing development of your child's faith and understanding please use us.  Children have spiritual needs as much as adults.
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