Baptisms, thanksgivings and confirmations

baptistery

A baptism is when God accepts a new person into His church. It is considered to formally mark the beginning of one's Christian life. 

A christening and a baptism mean exactly the same thing, though some people think that a christening is something that happens to a child, and baptism is something that happens to an adult.

A baptism uses water, and is done in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The water can be sprinkled on your forehead, or you can be completely submerged in a sort of mini swimming pool called a baptistery.

If you get in touch with us and tell us you want a christening/baptism, we'll come round to meet you and discuss your options.

Baptisms usually take place in the principal service on a Sunday morning. The baptism itself takes about ten minutes, and starts off with vows made by the person being baptised (if they are an adult), or by godparents and/or sponsors (if they are children). After the baptism, you receive a lighted candle, and everyone welcomes you into the church.

If you are an adult, you will be baptised by the area bishop, and then confirmed immediately afterwards (see below). 

Baptism FAQs

candleWhen can I have a baptism? Unless there are exceptional circumstances, baptisms usually happen in the regular Sunday morning service. It might be better if it's not on the second or fourth Sunday of the month, when we also have Holy Communion. However, we appreciate windows of opportunity are tight, and we are flexible!

How many godparents can I have? As many as you like!

I don't have anyone to be a godparent. Does that matter? No - the vows can be made by the immediate family, or by yourself, if you are an adult.

What are the responsibilities of being a godparents? It's the godparents job to ensure that children are brought up with a sound knowledge of the Christian faith. But don't worry, we send all prospective godparents a leaflet that tells them everything they need to know. There are two versions, one for a boy and one for a girl.

I have someone I want to be a godparent, but I'm not sure they've been baptised. Does that matter? The official guidelines state that all godparents should themselves be baptised. If you're not, you can be a 'sponsor' instead - you make the same vows, at the same time as everybody else. You'll still get a certificate at the end too! The only difference is that you won't get your name written in the baptism register, but as this spends most of its time locked up in a safe in the vestry, hopefully this isn't too much of a big deal!

Is there any preparation? Just a little bit! We might ask you to come to a Messy Church (in the case of a child baptism), so you get a sense of what we are about. If you are adult, we might chat to you informally about your faith, or maybe suggest you come to one or two church services before the baptism itself.

Does it cost anything? No - baptism at your local parish church is a statutory right. There are some optional costs around certificates - see below.

What about certificates? You can either have the official Church of England certificate (cost £13), or one that's free (and very tastefully done), which we do ourselves. 


Thanksgivings

A thanksgiving is similar to a baptism in many ways, though it is done with oil rather than water, and represents less of a commitment to the Christian way of life. It is normally for a newly born child, rather than an adult.

Thanksgivings may be done at any time or place, including at your home if you so desire it. You can have any many godparents or sponsors as you wish.


Confirmations

Confirmation is performed by bishops, to people who have already been baptised, and want to affirm their faith publicly. Traditionally, only those who have been confirmed can take communion, though we don't insist on that here at St Paul's.

Confirmation will normally be preceded by some form of 'confirmation class', though this will vary from person to person.

confirmationBishop Roger with some newly confirmed church members back in 2018