In baptism, you as parents are: thanking God for his gift of life, making a decision to start your child on the journey of faith and asking for the Church's support.
For your child, baptism marks the start of a journey of faith, which involves turning away from all that is evil, turning towards Christ and becoming a member of the local and worldwide Christian family.
Baptism is a 'sacrament' a visible sign of God's love. In baptism, we are thanking God for his gift of life and publicly acknowledging his love. We are acknowledging that we all need to turn away from selfishness and evil and to accept God's offer of a new start.
Your child's baptism will take place during the main Sunday service (at 1030). This is so that your child can be seen to be joining the family of the Church and be welcomed into membership. In turn the Church will promise to support and pray for you and your child.
Part of the baptism service will take place at the front of the church, but for the baptism itself, parents and godparents are asked by the priest to gather around the font. The font at St.Paul's is at the back of the church, and raised up so everyone in the congregation can clearly see the baptism. There is also plenty of room around the font for family, and esepcially children, to see what's happening.
If you would like your child baptised at St. Paul's, the first step is to contact the Vicar.
What happens at a Baptism?
Decisions and Promises
When you bring your child for baptism, you will be asked to declare publicly on behalf of your child that you believe in God and that you will bring your child up to follow Jesus.
You will be asked to answer, on your child's behalf, that you have decided to turn away from everything which is evil or sinful and instead to turn towards Christ.
The declarations made by you and the child's godparents will be made in front of the church congregation; the local Christian community will promise to support you and pray for you and your child.
Symbols and Actions
A number of important symbols and actions 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 Christians are united with Christ and must not be ashamed to stand up for their faith in him.
- Water - the priest will pour water on your child's head. Water is a sign of washing and cleansing. In baptism it is a sign of being washed free from sin and beginning a new life with God.
- Anointing - after baptism in water, the priest will anoint your child with oil. This is a sign of the outpouring of God's Holy Spirit.
- The welcome - the church congregation will say some formal words of welcome to acknowledge that you child has joined the Church and to show how pleased they are to have you among them.
- Candles - Jesus is the Light of the World. You will be given a lighted candle at the end of the service as a reminder of the light which has come into your child's life.