Baptism is a unique, special celebration, thanking God for the gift of life and publicly acknowledging God’s love. In baptism we acknowledge that we all need to turn from the darkness of evil and make a new start with God. Baptism is a ‘sacrament’: a visible sign of God’s love.
The Church of England baptises people as adults and as children. If your child is being baptised (also called ‘Christening’) you as parents are: thanking God for the gift of life, deciding 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, turning from the darkness of self-centredness towards Christ and becoming a member of the local and worldwide Christian family.
As a child grows through maturity they may wish to be confirmed. The baptism of those old enough to understand the privilege of baptism for themselves will be linked to Confirmation. Confirmation is a service presided at by a bishop. It involves declaring faith in Jesus Christ for oneself and asking to receive and be strengthened by God’s grace and love.
Baptism and confirmation are important steps on the journey of Christian faith as expressed in the Church of England.
More on Baptism (Church of England website)
Frequently asked questions
Q/ Can we have a private service of baptism?
A/ Baptisms usually take place in the church’s main service, because they are a public declaration that your child has become part of the church family. It is important that the church congregation is there to support you and welcome your child. However, if personal circumstances make this difficult, talk to your parish priest.
Q/ What is the right age for baptism?
A/ Baptism can happen at any age. What matters is that those concerned believe it is right to ask for baptism.
Teenagers and adults may also be baptised. This is celebrated with confirmation by the Bishop. You can only be baptised once, but there are ways of renewing your commitment publicly as an adult – your priest will be able to advise.
Q/ I’m not a regular churchgoer. Can I still have my child baptised?
A/ Yes. The Church believes that God’s love is available to all, regardless of their background. Your parish priest can talk you through the options: you may prefer to have a Thanksgiving service first and then consider baptism when you have had time to talk through what is being asked of you.
You may also wish to find out more about the Christian faith and what joining the Church involves before you make a decision about baptism. Again, your parish priest can give you guidance.
Q/ What does it cost?
A/ The Baptism service is free. There may be a small charge for a certificate or administration fee. Ask your parish priest for more information.