Baptisms (Christenings) at St Mary’s Platt
“Baptism” and “Christening” are just two different words for the same service, and we are delighted that you are considering this important step. It is a service for those who want their child to be brought up as a Christian and if that is your decision, we look forward to welcoming you into the church family here at St Mary’s Platt. Baptism has its roots in the bible and signifies a fresh start with God. Jesus himself was baptised at the start of his ministry and in his last words to his disciples he told them to baptise everyone who wanted to become a Christian. In the baptism service you will be asked to make promises to God on behalf of your child. If you would like to know more, please contact the Vicar, Revd Lorraine Turner.
If you are bringing a child under the age of 12 years for baptism, you will be asked to make promises on behalf of your child. However if the person being baptised is over 12 years old the promises are made by the person themselves and the baptism is held on the understanding that they will confirm their promises to the Bishop in a service of Confirmation within six months.
Baptism or Blessing?
If, on consideration, as a parent of the child you do not want to make the promises contained in the Baptism service but still want to have a special service to mark the birth of your child it is possible to have a service of blessing (or ‘Thanksgiving’) instead.
Please contact the vicar, Revd Lorraine Turner, (01732) 882447 who will be pleased to come to your home to discuss this further with you.
If you are bringing a child for baptism, you will be asked to nominate Godparents. Godparents make the same promises on behalf of the child being baptised as parents. They promise to pray for and support the child and to help you to bring up the child in the Christian faith.
It is an important and responsible role.
It is traditional to have three Godparents, two being of the same sex as your child, however this is not a requirement. Some people select two couples to act as Godparents, for instance and some parents act as Godparents themselves for their children.
When is the Service Held?
You will need to discuss the timing of the Baptism service with Jane. Often a service will be held on a Sunday afternoon, which gives friends and relatives time to reach Platt if they have to travel some distance. The service is shorter and more relaxed as it is focussed on the baptism itself. However a very important part of the Baptism service is the welcome by the church family. You will therefore need to attend a 10:30am Sunday service following your child’s baptism to be welcomed and to be presented with your child’s Baptism certificate. This certificate is not just a momento of the occasion, but an important legal document that may need to be produced later in life.
It should be kept in a safe place like other important documents such as birth certificates and passports.
You may prefer the baptism to take place as part of the main 10:30am service, particularly if you are making your baptismal promises on your own behalf and have made the decision to join the church family at St Mary’s Platt. Lorraine will be able to help you with that decision.
What Happens in the Service?
Here are a few highlights of the Baptism service. For simplicity it is assumed that you are bringing a child for baptism, but the same applies if you are seeking to be baptised yourself.
Three important symbols will be used during the service itself:
The sign of the cross – the priest will make the sign of the cross on your child’s forehead. This is like an invisible badge to show that the child now belongs to Christ and should not be ashamed to stand up for their faith as they grow older.
Water – the priest will pour water on your child’s head. Water is a symbol of washing and cleansing and also of life itself. In baptism it is a sign of beginning a new life or ‘fresh start’ with God.
Candles – We often think of Jesus as the Light of the World.
A large candle will be lit in the church and you will be given a lighted candle during the service as a reminder of the light which has come into your child’s life. Some people like to light their
child’s baptism candle on their child’s birthday or on the anniversary of his or her baptism each
year. We hope that it will remind you of the vows that you have made on your child’s behalf.