The birth of a child is a very special time and baptism provides families with a way of expressing their sense of thanksgiving and their sense of wonder.
We would be delighted to talk to you if you are interested in having your child baptised at St Margaret’s, so please do contact the Vicar if you would like to find out more.
We invite everyone who wants their child baptised to one of our baptism teas (normally held on a Sunday afternoon). We will then explain more about what is involved and be able to look at possible dates with you.
Often people have a lot of questions about baptism (sometimes also called a “Christening”) and what happens in a service of baptism. This rest of this section is intended to answer some of these questions!
What is the difference between baptism and christening?
None - they are just different words for the same thing. The Church of England service itself always uses "baptism" hence its use here.
Who can have their child baptised at St Margaret's?
Anyone who lives within the St Margaret's parish boundary (please do ask if you are not sure about this) or anyone who worships regularly at St Margaret's can have their child baptised here.
If neither of these apply to you then you would need to demonstrate some connection with St Margaret's and also have the agreement of the Vicar of the parish in which you live.
Can we have a private baptism?
All baptisms at St Margaret's are part of a regular Sunday service. Part of the meaning of baptism is that the child is welcomed into the church family and therefore that family needs to be present for that to happen. The church community also promises to support the child being baptised on their Christian journey.
What does it all mean?
Baptism is a visible sign of God's love and shows that he is at work in someone's life. Jesus was baptised himself and instructed his followers to baptise new followers (disciples).
For an older person it shows that they feel ready to commit themselves in faith to Jesus Christ and accept that God is with them.
For a young child the faith is expressed by the parents and godparents. Children then have their own chance to make a commitment later through confirmation. All this is part of a life-long journey of faith in which we all need the support of the local church community.
Will we have to promise anything?
Yes, the promises or vows are very important. They are an opportunity to express your belief in the Christian faith as well as committing yourself to bringing up your child as a member of the Church.
Do I need to be a regular church goer to have my child baptised?
During the service you will be asked to promise that you will raise your child as a Christian. Part of being a Christian is being part of God's family which is called the church. If you want to promise seriously then it would be strange not to try and come to church.
We're not sure yet what we believe in. Is there an alternative?
There is a service of thanksgiving for the birth of a child and some parents feel that this is more appropriate for them, possibly as a first stage. It does not involve anyone in making any promises.
This could be the time to find out more about the Christian faith. We can readily tell you more about that.
What happens if one of us doesn't feel able to make the promises?
The baptism can certainly still go ahead but you may want to talk this through with us first.
Is there any preparation for baptism?
Yes, it is almost like going to ante-natal classes!! The course is normally held over two evenings, starting a few weeks before the date of the baptism service. The evenings provide every opportunity for questions and discussion as well as explaining what is involved in the service.
How many godparents should we have and who should they be?
The tradition used to be to have two godparents of the same sex as the child and one of the opposite but that is no longer essential.
What is important is that you choose people who can join you in making the promises and they must have been baptised themselves. They need to be willing to pray regularly for your child and to be an example of the Christian life to them.
You can, as parents, be godparents to your own child.
What happens if a godparent can't be present on the day?
This happens quite often. You just need to appoint someone to be a proxy godparent for them.
We would like a particular relative/friend to be a godparent but s/he is not a Christian?
We do have to insist that godparents are baptised Christians themselves. How about asking the person to be an honorary godparent?
How much does it cost?
Nothing! If you want to make a donation as part of your thanksgiving to God for the day and for the gift of your child then we would be very pleased to accept that. Alternatively as at all church services there will be a collection so you can give (if you wish) through that.