Why have a baptism?
The birth of a child is a huge event in any couple’s life together. When it happens they often want to mark the occasion by gathering their friends and family around them.
And they want to involve God in the celebration and ask God to be with their child as he/she grows. So they come to church asking for a baptism (or a christening, as it’s often called).
Baptism involves an element of giving thanks for this new life. But it’s about more than that. We believe that God loves us all, whether we are baptised or not! But baptism is a visible symbol of that love – rather like a parent kissing their child.
Baptism is also a joining ceremony. When we’re baptised we say we’re willing to follow God’s way – we take on a duty. That involves being a member of the church, and living as God would want us to live in every part of our lives.
You’ll see from the last two paragraphs that there’s nothing there that requires you to be a child when you’re baptised. Most of our baptisms are of children, but occasionally we have an adult candidate.
Baptisms and thanksgivings at Holy Trinity
We do baptisms for about 20-25 people each year – usually, but not always, young children. Again, there are rules which say which baptism applications we can accept – but it’s very unusual for us to say ‘no’.
Once in a while we’re asked to hold what’s called a service of ‘Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child’. It’s a way of marking a child’s birth without having them baptised. We prefer doing baptisms, but will do thanksgivings if that’s what the parents really want after they’ve spoken with us.
Can I have a baptism at Holy Trinity…and when?
You’re welcome to have a baptism at Holy Trinity if you qualify. Broadly you must live in the parish or have a connection with the parish or church. It’s hard to be specific, so the easiest thing is to ask us.
Usually we hold baptisms at a special midday Sunday service, once a month. And we have one or two baptism ‘families’ in each service. Obviously, the earlier you book, the more likely we are to have a space when you want.
We’re quite happy for you to invite friends and family along. The church holds a lot of people and it’s never run out of seating before. The car park is quite small though, so they probably won’t all be able to park on site.
Understandably, adult candidates can be a little shy about being baptised. So we sometimes have a separate service for them when things are a little quieter.
Thanksgiving for the gift of a child
Some people don’t want a baptism service. They don’t want to have anything to do with a joining ceremony, and don’t want to commit their child to follow God’s way. There is an alternative service that can be used, ‘Thanksgiving for the gift of a child’.
At Holy Trinity we don’t see why anyone should be unwilling to say they will follow God’s way – it’s not as though we demand that you attend a course and then check up on you! But we have used the service very occasionally and are happy to talk the option through with you if you’re interested.
When adults are baptised they are able to speak for themselves when asked whether they will follow God’s way. But young children need someone to speak for them, and to promise to help them follow God’s way until they are old enough to take on the responsibility themselves – that’s the godparents’ job.
A big question for many people is who can be a godparent … and how many do we need?
Godparents are supposed to be baptised and confirmed. Over the years we’ve found many people haven’t been confirmed but have been allowed to be godparents at other churches. So we only insist on them being baptised. If they are not confirmed, we ask that they be 16 or older – old enough to understand the responsibility they are taking on.
Traditionally people have three godparents – two the same gender as the child, one the opposite gender. In practice most people have between 2 or 4, with at least one the same gender as the child.
How much does it cost?
That’s an easy question to answer – nothing. But there will be a collection taken during the service towards the running costs of the church; and occasionally we find that some families want to make a separate donation – but that’s entirely up to you.
Making an enquiry
If you’re interested in having a baptism at Holy Trinity, please get in touch with us. We’ll check that you qualify, and whether the date you want is available. And if you want to make a booking, we’ll arrange an appointment with you, to fill in the form and explain what you need to do next.
You can phone us or fill in the form below. Either way, we look forward to hearing from you.