Perhaps you have recently had a baby and you are thinking of having him or her baptised. Congratulations! The birth of a baby is a good reason to think about the mystery of life and about what you want for your children.
Baptism: A very important step
Maybe your children are a little older and are beginning to ask questions about God. Or perhaps you are thinking of being Baptised yourself. Whatever your reason for thinking about Baptism you are very welcome at St Stephen’s.
At St Stephen’s, Baptisms can place during our main 10am Sunday service or at 11.30 on a Sunday of your choice, depending on availability.
What to do next
If you live in the parish and would like your child to be Baptised (or to be Baptised yourself), we ask that you come and visit us between 10.30am and 11.30am on any Saturday morning in order to discuss the practicalities of Baptism for yourself or your child.
If you want a particular date for the Baptism, you should make arrangements in good time. There will normally be a gap of one or two months between first contact and the Baptism to allow sufficient time for preparation – normally in the form of a home visit by one of the clergy or pastoral workers.
If you do not live in St Stephen’s parish, and are not a regular worshipper with us here, then (under Church of England Regulations) you should approach the priest in the parish where you live to arrange for Baptism.
Understanding what Baptism is
During the Baptism Service, parents and Godparents make promises before God on behalf of the child, to bring him or her up within the Christian faith. There will be the chance to think about these promises when you meet with the Vicar and to ask any questions you might have. But it is important to realise that Baptism is a decision about joining the Christian community. When people are baptized they are declaring that they want to live as a Christian and to grow in their faith as a member of the Church.
To be a Christian means putting faith into action to create a better world. Not only should we love others as individuals, but we should work together to change society so that it is a better place in which to live. Christians have a desire to change the world and make it more like the one they believe God intended.
If you are not sure that you are ready to take this step or to make the promises, but still want to thank God for the safe arrival of your child, it is possible to have a Service of Dedication and Thanksgiving, leaving the Baptism until later. Again this is something which can be discussed during your meeting with the Vicar.
What about Godparents
Traditionally when the child is a boy there are two Godfathers and one Godmother. If it is a girl, two Godmothers and one Godfather. However this is tradition, not law. The legal minimum is to have two Godparents for each child.
When you ask someone to become a Godparent, you are asking them to have a Christian input into the life of your child. Therefore Godparents need to be baptized (and preferably confirmed) themselves and to show a willingness to take on this responsibility for their Godchild. This might involve reading Bible stories to their Godchild, praying for them and with them. It can also mean being a sounding board for them when they reach their teenage years and want to talk to an adult who isn’t Mum or Dad!