Christening Nuts & Bolts

Do I ‘qualify’ to have my baby baptised at your church?

We offer baptism to all living in our parish, and/or worshipping at our church. If, though, you are shortly to move out of the area, we would discuss with you whether it would be better to wait until you had established contact with a new parish church.

How do I make contact with St. John’s to start the ball rolling?

First of all, remember that you will be committing yourself to ongoing contact with us from now on, so it makes sense for you to try us out first! We suggest that you come to a Family Eucharist to get the feel of the church before starting formal plans. Then, if/when you decide to proceed, contact Jill Spence.

What preparation is involved?

Jill Spence will arrange a time to meet you (and your partner) at home to talk about baptism and what is involved. The vicar will meet you as and when you come to a Sunday Service; if there are special circumstances preventing you from coming to church, let him know and he will make alternative arrangements to meet.

When do you conduct baptisms? How long is the service? How much does it cost?

The usual baptism service is a free standing service on the fourth Sunday of the month (11.45 am). It takes around 30 – 40 minutes, depending on whether hymns are included (members of St. John’s attend the service also, as representatives of the Church community). There is no cost for the service.

At what age do you suggest we have our baby baptised?

There isn’t a set age (whatever may be said by the family holder of the heirloom christening gown!), but in practice most children are somewhere between 1 and 2. By the age of 4, we prefer to wait until they are old enough to opt for baptism in their own right – the guidelines here are that children can make such ‘spiritual decisions’ from about 8 onwards.

What are godparents?

Godparents are special people who promise to give your child spiritual support and love as they grow in faith.The normal convention is to have two godparents of the same gender as the child, and one of the ‘other’. That means a minimum of three godparents – although many families have four (more than that, and being a godparent loses something of its ‘specialness’). We require that all godparents should be baptised, and that at least two out of the three (or three out of the four) should be regular members of a Christian church (any denomination). That allows you space to choose an ‘unqualified’ relative, if need be, to keep the peace! When choosing godparents, try to find someone with both a solid spiritual understanding of their own – and the humour needed to stand by your sweet baby when they become a truculent thirteen year old!

What follow up is involved?

We hope that you continue with and build upon your existing church involvement. In addition, we hold an annual baptism anniversary service for families, and send out baptism anniversary cards to the children concerned. You might like to also consider ‘topping up’ your own spiritual understanding – how about joining a Christian Enquiry Course?