“By one Spirit we are all baptised into one body”
We are delighted that you are exploring the possibility of Christian Baptism for your child or for yourself. You may already be very familiar with baptism and all that it means, and with the service itself - or there may be questions that you would like to ask.
How we celebrate baptisms in St. Bartholomew’s
Baptisms (sometimes also called christenings) are usually celebrated on a Sunday morning at 11.30 am at the Church. Timings can be flexible so please discuss this with us. We are very happy to also include baptism as part of our weekly Parish Communion at 9.30 am. We will also invite you and close members of the family to join us at Family T which is a relaxed family service held once a month in the Church Centre. This is an opportunity to welcome you and your child or children in the wider family of the church.
Remember that Baptism is the beginning of something as well as a special event. We hope that everyone who is baptised will continue their journey in faith as part of the Church.
If you are an adult and you wish to be baptised, you may feel that a more intimate occasion is appropriate. This is often the case for adults who wish to be Godparents (all godparents need to be baptised). We regularly conduct adult baptism early on a Saturday evening or at other times.
There is no age limit either young or old for baptism and babies and very young children are brought because their parents want what is best for them, and see membership of the Church as something important. Just as good parents provide love, security and a balanced diet so that their children will thrive, parents are also concerned about their spiritual health.
Older children and adults coming for Baptism take this as a first step into the faith they have chosen for themselves. They answer for themselves the questions otherwise answered by parents and godparents. It is common at a child's baptism to have three Godparents but practice does vary a lot. Godparents take on a special responsibility along with the parents of a child. They promise to help to bring the child up in the ways of faith and to grow as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Traditionally two Godparents are the same gender as the child and one is the opposite gender, but this is flexible.
Baptism costs nothing but offers you much. To make enquiries or to book a baptism it is best to come to the Church Centre on a Saturday morning between 10.00 and 12.00 to meet either the Vicar or a member of the team.
Baptism – Three important symbols
Water is an important sign of life. We need to drink water to stay alive; it seems clear that life evolved in the waters of the earth; our bodies are largely made up of water and we use it to wash and refresh ourselves.
In the same way we need the love of God to revive and refresh ourselves spiritually.
At birth most of us emerge wet from the womb and are lifted straight into the arms of someone who loves us. At baptism we are “born again” as Christians, and we emerge wet from the font into the loving arms of the Church, which represents Christ here on earth.
The water of baptism reminds us of God’s blessing, poured out on the lives of all who seek it, and the moment of baptism is followed by a prayer that begins:
“May God, who has received you by baptism into his Church, pour upon you the riches of his grace...”
The Sign of the Cross
The sign of the cross is made on our forehead as an invisible, but everlasting, reminder of our belonging to the body of Christ. Everyone who is baptised will be invited to recall heir own baptism and the life giving possibilities and responses that go with it.
Light is another universal symbol for all that is good. Jesus is sometimes called “the light of the world” and every Easter we celebrate the dawn of the day of resurrection by blessing and lighting a large candle. This candle burns at every baptism service, and from it we light a smaller candle, given as a reminder that all Christians promise to walk in the light of Christ.
We say together :
“Shine as a light in the world
to the glory of God the Father.”