Baptisms and Thanksgivings
Baptism (christening) is a sign of belonging to the Christian community and of dedicating our life to Christ.
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Jesus said, “...go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age...” Matthew 28:19-20
Since one can become a Christian at any age we baptise people from the youngest to the oldest. It is always a joy to welcome a new member to the church and baptisms at any of the 5folds churches usually takes place in the main service on a Sunday morning.
The baptism service contains some very serious promises about becoming a member of Christ’s Church and about the living out of the Christian faith. Children cannot make these promises or a statement of faith in Jesus for themselves and so require parents and godparents to do this on their behalf. During the service, parents and godparents are asked to declare that they themselves are followers of Jesus and will bring the baby up as a member of the Christian church passing on their own faith in Jesus to their children by how they pray, live and worship in the local church community. This means that parents and Godparents must be Baptised themselves.
It is our responsibility to help parents to understand these commitments, think them through and prepare for the task before arranging a date for baptism to take place. This is done in three short classes which can take place either in your own home or in church with other families if there are several people preparing at the same time. This gives plenty of time and opportunity for you to talk through the meaning of the promises that you and the godparents will be asked to make in the service itself. Our support for you as parents continues after the Baptism as we offer several activities and opportunities for helping children to grow in their faith.
The role of godparents is to pray for, and support their godchild, as they grow in the Christian faith. Because so much of this role involves passing on faith to the godchild, the best person is a committed Christian. According to the rules of the Church of England they must be baptized and at least one of them (or a parent) needs to be confirmed. There is no upper limit to the number of godparents a child may have but most children have between two and four. The minimum number is two, a godfather and a godmother. During the service the godparents make the same promises on behalf of themselves and their godchild as the child’s parents. It is helpful if they can attend the preparation sessions too but if this is not possible a very short session is arranged with them half an hour before the service itself.
Read more about the the core content of a typical Baptism Service including the promises and declaration of personal faith from this PDF called Baptism Vows and Promises.
Thanksgiving for the gift of a Child
As an alternative, or perhaps as a precurser to a baptism (the normal practice in Pathfinder Church Northstowe), we offer a Thanksgiving Service to allow people to to thank God publicly for the birth of their baby, or adoption of a child. This is a lovely service at which we give thanks for the arrival of the child, pray for God’s blessing and protection for the child and pray for wisdom, strength and patience for the parents.
There is provision to choose some people who are particularly special to you and your child to act as ‘sponsoring friends’ on the day. A Thanksgiving requires no promises about bringing children up within the Christian faith and there is no preparation other than a one-off meeting to arrange the service. Thanksgivings usually take place in the main service on a Sunday morning.
To arrange a Baptism or Thanksgiving, if you don’t already come to church, we ask you to come along to one of our main Sunday Services. We would love to meet you and after the service you can speak to the Vicar to arrange a time to meet and begin the process of preparing you for baptism.
Available dates can get booked up a few months in advance so please do enquire in good time.
Read more in this PDF sample of a service of Thanksgiving and Blessing.