We’re delighted you’re thinking of baptism for your child. Your child is precious to you and precious to God. At baptism you promise to raise your child to know God loves them, and to help them to follow Jesus as a member of the Church.
What is baptism?
Baptism, sometimes known as Christening, marks a new beginning of Christian life, whether we are adults or children. It may be that baptism happens at the very start of life, and the journey of faith, or it may be that the journey to has already been long or dramatic or even difficult or convoluted but this service provides us with a way in which we now become full members of God’s church. Baptism also presents to us the Christian story and invites us to make that story even more part of our own life story. Baptism is available for children, young people and adults.
What happens in the service?
- In the baptism service we turn towards God and we turn away from all that hampers good relationships with one another, with creation and with God.
- We are marked with the sign of the cross (the badge of Jesus Christ) and we profess our Christian belief.
- We give thanks for the gift of water and we remember that like God’s people of old who came through the sea to freedom in the Promised Land, so we go into and through the waters of baptism to a new life. This is symbolised by the sprinkling or pouring of water, which also reminds us of Jesus’ baptism in the River Jordan.
- Promises are made, either by the candidate, or on their behalf, to follow Jesus Christ.
- We are baptised in the name of God the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit reminding us that just as there is a relationship within God, so we are called to build relationships that transform the world.
- We receive God’s gift of being adopted into his people (the church).
- We are given a lighted candle signifying that God journeys with us as we grow in faith and as we serve our neighbours near and far.
Baptism although immensely personal is also dramatically public! It normally takes place within the main Sunday service as part of the whole church of God so that new Christians can really be welcomed by their brothers and sisters of faith.
Within church life we provide groups for adults, young people and children to grow deeper in faith as we learn together. Parents and Godparents have a key role to play for newly baptised children and other Christians provide that same role for newly baptised adults.
Alternatives and other services
Christians who have been baptised some time ago sometimes renew their baptismal promises e.g. at Easter or maybe as part of a return to a more intentional Christian way of life. The Church of England recognises baptism in any Christian Church that uses water and undertakes this commitment ‘in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit’. So if you have been baptised in another denomination, you do not have to be baptised again. In fact, it is not possible to be baptised a second time but we can renew our commitments any time. Please ask the clergy if you wish to do this.
The Church of England offers Baptism to infants and children who are unable to profess faith themselves on the understanding that they are brought up as Christians. But there are cases where in all in conscience, parents are not able to make the necessary Christian promises whilst keeping their personal integrity. Yet they want to come to church to say thank you and to offer prayers. If this is the case, a service of Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child can be arranged which may include supporting friends and a naming ceremony. This service does not require parents to commit to promises but it enables parents to celebrate the new birth and to give thanks.
Confirmation in many ways completes our baptism as we
profess our faith with our own lips and as the Bishop lays hands on our head, praying
for the gift of the Holy Spirit to strengthen us. So this service is reserved
for adults and young people who are able to make their own promises. For adults
baptism and confirmation often happen at the same time.
Who may be baptised?
Baptism can be arranged for babies, children and adults who
- live within the parish of Tettenhall Regis or
- regularly worship at Holy Cross church or
- have some connection with the church, such as having previously lived in the parish. If this applies to you, you will be required to consult the Church of England parish where you live before a baptism can be arranged.
When does baptism take place?
Baptism of children normally takes place on the first Sunday of each month, during the main 10.45am morning Eucharist, other than during the seasons of Advent and Lent. Where there are exceptional circumstances, it may be possible to have a service of baptism following that service, at 12.30pm.
Baptism for young people and adults normally takes place as part of a confirmation service, which happens once a year at St. Michael and All Angels, Tettenhall. Young people are invited to join our ‘Encounter’ group, and an adult preparation group is provided for these occasions.
What about Godparents?
The role of a godparent is to speak on behalf of an infant or child, to support the parents in bringing up the child as a Christian within the family of the church. In order that they can fulfil their role Godparents need to be able to make the declarations and promises in the baptism service, which is why the Church of England requires all Godparents to be baptised themselves. Although there is no requirement for them to be confirmed, that is our preference.
Sometimes people also have supporters who do not necessarily have to be baptised. They offer support and example to the newly baptised. For example, adults sometimes have sponsors from the congregation or beyond to accompany them.
It is possible to include others as supporters who parents wish to have an on-going involvement in the life of their children but who are not baptised or who may come from another faith community. They will have a special concern for the on-going wellbeing and development of the child.
What do you need to do?
- In the first instance, parent(s)/carers are encouraged to come along to worship at Holy Cross to ensure that they are comfortable with the type of worship and happy to make Holy Cross their spiritual home.
- When you are sure that this is the church for you, you will need to speak to either the vicar or the church’s baptism coordinator, Mrs Janet Pugh, to look at practical arrangements. You will find it helpful if you haven’t booked a venue for the party before you have had the opportunity to arrange a date with the church.
- We will then need you to complete an application form, available from the church, from the baptism coordinator, or the church’s website.
- This form will include a request that we use your contact details, to be stored electronically as a means of keeping in touch, with a greeting card on the anniversary of the baptism, and invitation to other services and events that may be of interest.
- There is no fee for baptism but we encourage you to make a thank offering in the collection during the service, using wherever possible the Gift Aid envelopes provided.
- You will be invited to a Baptism Preparation session, looking at what we understand baptism to be and the promises that you are to make. The vicar will also make contact, to come and make a visit.
- We also encourage parents and where possible, godparents to come along to Sunday worship. These services will help to give you a basic grasp of the life and worship of the Christian community and enable you to feel part of this worshipping community.
For further information, please complete the contact form.