Baptism at St. Albright’s
Baptism or Christening is a sacrament – that is to say a visible sign of God’s love. It is all about beginning a new life as a follower of Jesus Christ. It marks a new start and involves a decision to follow Jesus Christ within the family of the church. Jesus was himself baptized as the sign of a new beginning in his life, and you can read about that at the start of Mark’s Gospel in the New Testament. Baptism became the sign of the start of the Christian life from the very earliest days of the church.
Anyone can be baptized and at any age – babies, infants, teenagers or adults. As it is a sign of God’s love then all are welcome, whoever you may be. What matters is that you believe that it is the right thing to do. You can only be baptized once, but there are ways of renewing your Christian commitment publicly as an adult. To find out more about that then please speak to the Priest in Charge.
Your child’s baptism
We are delighted that you are thinking of baptism for your child. He or she is precious to you and precious to God – as is all humankind and the whole of his creation. At baptism you and the godparents promise to raise your child to know that God loves them, and to help them to follow Jesus as a member of the church.
Babies and young children cannot make those promises themselves so that is why the parents and godparents do so on their behalf. You may feel that children should make their own decisions, and of course one day they will. In the meantime, however, you probably make decisions for your children every day – feeding, clothing, education to name but a few. In the same way, choosing to have them baptized shows that you want them to have a spiritual upbringing as they grow up as part of the Christian family, the church. Later they will be able to declare their faith for themselves at a confirmation service. If you would like to talk about this some more just ask the Priest in Charge.
Who can baptized?
As God’s love extends to all then all people can be baptized. At St. Albright’s we welcome everyone, whether you are a regular churchgoer or not. What is important is the commitment to bring up your child in the Christian faith, and that is why the godparents themselves need to be baptized. At every baptism parents and godparents declare their Christian faith and promise help the child to follow Jesus. Also, the rest of the congregation then promises to support, encourage and pray for them. If you want to find out more about Christianity there are plenty of opportunities at St. Albright’s, from our regular Sunday and other services to various discussion and support groups. Please ask the Priest in Charge about them.
How do I start?
Please fill in the above form to begin the process. After you have submitted it, the Administrator will be in touch to arrange a meeting between you and the Priest-in-Charge.
You should give some thought to who you would like to act as godparents. Normally there are three for each child, but you can have as many as you like. As already mentioned, they need to be baptized and willing to take on the responsibility of ensuring that your child is brought up to know about and to follow Jesus.
At St. Albright’s we like you come to at least one of our regular Sunday morning services before the baptism so that you can begin to help your child on his or her Christian journey. The first Sunday in the month is a family communion service which is particularly suited to children, being more informal and relaxed.
The Baptism service
This normally takes place during the Sunday morning service on the third Sunday of the month at 10.30 am. This is so that the congregation can welcome your child into the family of the church. When you meet the Priest in Charge you will be taken though the order of service, but, very briefly, it consists of the following:-
- Promises and Declarations. You and the godparents promise to help your child to follow Jesus and declare your Christian faith. The congregation promises to support, encourage and pray for your child.
- The sign of the cross. The Priest in Charge makes the sign of the cross on your child’s forehead. This is like an invisible badge to show that God loves us all and that we are united with him in Jesus Christ.
- Water. The Priest in Charge pours water on your child’s head as a sign of being washed free from the power of sin because of what Jesus has done for us, and as a sign of beginning a new life with God.
- The Welcome. A few formal words of welcome are said by the whole congregation.
- Candles. Jesus said “I am the light of the world.” Your child is given a candle as a reminder of the light of Jesus in them and which shines out to others in the world.
What happens after baptism?
Once baptized your child is a member of the worldwide Christian community. As they grow up they need to get to know Jesus better and learn how to follow him. At St. Albright’s there are opportunities for this. We have our family communion service once a month (see above) and on other Sundays we have a Sunday School, Albright’s Club, for those aged four or over. (Younger children are welcome if accompanied by a parent or carer).
We hope that your child’s baptism will be a wonderful and memorable occasion and that it will mark the beginning of a long and happy association with St. Albright’s
If you think that baptism is not right for your child yet then we offer a service of Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child. It is an opportunity to give thanks to God for your child and for them to be blessed. You do not make the same promises as in the baptism service. Please talk to the Priest in Charge if you are interested in this.