Baptism and Services of Thanksgiving for Children
We are delighted that you are thinking about baptism for your child. As a parent you will want the best for your Child in every possible way:
Physically - and the health visitor and your family doctor are there to help.
Educationally – and the local schools and libraries are there to help.
Emotionally – and friends and family are there to help.
Spiritually - and St Barnabas Church is here to help you and your family.
What is Baptism?
Baptism is a serious step. It is the act by which a person joins the Christian family, the Church. Baptism is also a ‘sacrament’: a visible sign of God’s love.
In Baptism, you as parents or carers are thanking God for the gift of your child and deciding to start your child on the journey of faith. In the Baptism service you promise to actively encourage your child’s spiritual growth and ask for the Church’s support as you do so.
If your child is not yet old enough to make a personal commitment to Jesus Christ, the Church accepts them for baptism on the understanding that they receive a Christian upbringing within the family of the Church. This means that as your child grows up you are promising to encourage and teach them to pray, read and understand the Bible and to practice the Christian faith.
When you bring a child for baptism you are promising to carry out this encouragement in your own home and by bringing your child with you as a regular member of the local Church.
Promises and Preparation
During the Baptism service parents and godparents are asked to make serious and demanding promises. You will answer on your child’s behalf and for yourself that you have decided to turn away from everything which is evil or sinful and to turn instead towards Jesus Christ.
The promises made by you and the godparents will be made in front of God and the Church congregation. The Church community will also promise to support you and pray for you and your child.
Because you will be making very definite and demanding promises we welcome the opportunity to discuss baptism with you more fully. At St Barnabas we usually ask to visit parents three times, for a maximum of an hour each time, usually this is in your own home.
As well as getting to know each other, this gives opportunity to discuss with you what Baptism is about and help you to think about how you plan to keep the promises that you will be making.
The Baptism preparation sessions are with either a dedicated member of the congregation or one of the clergy.
Godparents make the same promises on behalf of the child being baptised as parents. Godparents promise to pray and support the child and to help the parents to bring up the child in the Christian faith. It is an important and responsible role. Godparents can be family or friends. However, it is important that you choose people who will take an active interest in your child’s spiritual welfare and who will pray for you and your child.
You should aim for three godparents: two of the same gender as the child and one of the opposite gender. Legally they must have been baptised themselves.
The Baptism Service
As Baptism involves joining the family of the Church, it takes place during our normal 10am worship on a Sunday morning. It is a public declaration that your child has become part of the Church family. We will be able to finalise a date for the Baptism only after the completion of the preparation visits.
A Service of Thanksgiving
For some people what is right is a service of Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child, rather than a Baptism. You may want to say ‘Thank you’ to God for the birth of a son or daughter, but may not feel ready to make the promises involved in Baptism at the moment. In this service, you thank God for the gift of your child and the child is blessed. This is a really good choice for many people.
A prayer for parents to use:
- Join us for our regular Sunday service
- 10am lively mass with music
020 8423 3775