If you live within the parish then you automatically have the right to use the church for baptisms, weddings, blessings and funerals
(and that’s whether you usually attend on Sundays or not – but of course you are very welcome to do so!).
What is Baptism?
- Baptism (or Christening) is the rite of entry into the Christian Church and for this reason the traditional place for the font is by the church entrance, as is still the case at St Saviour’s.
- Baptism is what the Church calls a ‘sacrament’ or in other words, “an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace”.
That means it is far more than just a naming ceremony or an opportunity to give thanks for a new-born life, but an acknowledgement of God’s involvement
in the candidate’s life (at whatever age) and a celebration of God’s saving activity as they grow in faith and Christian discipleship.
- Baptism marks the beginning of a journey with God which continues for the rest of our lives,
the first step in response to God’s unconditional love. For all involved, particularly the candidates but also parents, godparents and sponsors,
it is a joyful moment when we rejoice in what God has done for us through Jesus.
- Baptism involves a statement of faith and serious, important promises are made either by the candidate themselves (if adults)
or by their parents and godparents.
- Baptism is a partnership between parents and the Church because in welcoming children to baptism, the local Church commits itself to be the kind of Church that will encourage its younger members and help them to worship and grow in faith.
- Baptism is not the only option for your child and you may wish to consider a Service of Thanksgiving & Blessing instead. In this service there are no promises made, but we ask God’s blessing on the child at the beginning of their life.
Sometimes this service is chosen as an alternative to Baptism, or in addition with the Baptism taking place at a later date.
Baptism Services at St Saviour’s
- Baptisms usually take place on Sundays at 11.30am, although there are times in the year when it is possible
to include a baptism in the Parish Mass at 9.30am.
- To keep things more personal, we only usually book in a maximum of two families at each particular service.
- The tradition of the early Church was that baptisms only ever happened once a year, at Easter.
At St Saviour’s we take very seriously our roots as a community of faith and there is always the opportunity for baptism at the Easter Vigil
(the night before Easter) and the 9.30 am service on Easter Day. (But please remember that the date of Easter changes each year!)
- Our fixed pattern of baptism services is a way of trying to organise ourselves at St Saviour’s – but it is not set in stone!
We recognise that there are many different factors involved when trying to organise a family celebration.
So where possible we are happy to schedule additional services, but we would appreciate your trying to fit in with the Church’s schedule as far as possible.
- Recently, the Church of England has formalised its provision for baptism to take place within the Marriage Service.
If this is something you would like to consider, please contact the Vicar before completing your Baptism Application Form.
You can download the Baptism Application Form here.
Being a Godparent
Being a godparent is an important responsibility and a great privilege.
There are a number of things to consider before choosing godparents (and before accepting the role if you have been asked),
so please read the following information carefully….
- In keeping with early Christian practice, the Church of England baptises people at any age, and those who are too young
to answer for themselves are represented by ‘godparents’.
- Along with the child’s parents, godparents present the candidates for baptism,
speak on their behalf, and promise to support and encourage them in their growth in faith by prayer and example. This, of course, is a lifelong commitment!
- Traditionally there are three godparents: two of the same sex as the child, and one of the opposite.
However, there is space in the baptismal register to record up to four names, and the gender of your choice of godparent is entirely up to you!
- Canon law (the rules governing the Church of England) states that godparents must themselves have been baptised.
Those who are not baptised can act as ‘sponsors’ but will not be recorded in the baptismal register, and are not godparents.
Adults can be baptised in order to become godparents, but this of course will mean that the child’s baptism is delayed while they are prepared as adult candidates.
- Godparents have no legal standing as guardians of their godchildren unless separate provision is made through your solicitor.
They are nonetheless, significant people in your child’s growth and development.
- Prospective godparents are asked to be involved in the Baptism preparation evening, along with the child’s parents, in order to give thought and consideration to the promises which will be made publicly at the Baptism service.
Promises made by Parents and Godparents
Parents and godparents, the Church receives these children 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 these children begin 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.
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 parents and godparents:
Do you turn to Christ?
I turn to Christ.
Do you repent of your sins?
I repent of my sins.
Do you renounce evil?
I renounce evil.
You can find more information about Christenings on the Church of England's website here.