We are glad that you are considering Baptism (sometimes called Christening) at St John’s. We want to be able to help you make the service as special as possible, and we want to help you to prepare properly.
Baptism is a three-way agreement, between Parents & Godparents who speak on behalf of a child, the Church, and God. The God we worship and commit to in Baptism is the God shown to us by Jesus Christ and through the words of the Bible. He offers us the hope of finding our true identity in this life, and a home with Him forever in Heaven in the next life. He is absolutely faithful and has promised never to leave us, and to be with us forever. His call to us is to follow His purposes and plans for us.
That journey of following begins in Baptism. It is a commitment to bring your child up as a follower of Jesus, and a part of His Church. In the service you are asked to make promises where you specifically commit to this, so it’s important you think about how you will be faithful to that commitment. For our part, St John’s will pray for you, encourage you and help you feel at home amongst us. You can read all of the words you’ll be asked to say in the service below.
Baptism services normally only happen once a month at the 10.30am service. We ask that if you’re not a member of the church, you attend regularly for a while so we can get to know you and you can get to know us. We can then make arrangements to begin the preparations with you. This involves two interactive 30 to 40 minute sessions after the 10.30am service where we’ll talk you through what Baptism means and what happens in the service. These sessions are for Parents and Godparents to attend together.
On the day, we’ll make the service engaging, lively and fun, whilst remembering we are entering into a serious commitment. We want to celebrate with you! Thank you for your enquiry. We look forward to journeying with you.
The promises you make:
The Vicar or someone leading the service will ask:
Parents and godparents, the Church receives these children with joy. Today we are trusting God for their growth in faith. Will you pray for them, draw them by your example into the community of faith and walk with them in the way of Christ?
You’ll then reply: With the help of God, we will.
You’ll then be asked: In baptism these children begin their journey in faith. You speak for them today. Will you care for them, and help them to take their place within the life and worship of Christ's Church?
Again, you’ll then reply: With the help of God, we will.
As these are really important promises of your commitment to the child who is being baptised, it’s good to hear all the Parents and Godparents say the responses together.
The declarations you make:
Once you’ve made the promises, the Vicar, or someone leading the service will say the words in italics, and again all Parents and Godparents will be expected to say the responses in bold:
In baptism, God calls us out of darkness into his marvellous light. To follow Christ means dying to sin and rising to new life with him.Therefore I ask:
Do you reject the devil and all rebellion against God? I reject them.
Do you renounce the deceit and corruption of evil? I renounce them.
Do you repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbour? I repent of them.
Do you turn to Christ as Saviour? I turn to Christ.
Do you submit to Christ as Lord? I submit to Christ.
Do you come to Christ, the way, the truth and the life? I come to Christ.
Once all these have been said, the baptism then happens. Sometimes some people don’t feel ready to say these things or make these commitments. There is no problem with that. We can offer instead to conduct a ‘thanksgiving service’ where we thank God for the child and pray for those caring for him or her. We will help you to understand what all these words mean when we do the sessions.
The promise we make to you:
Church members are asked: Faith is the gift of God to his people. In baptism the Lord is adding to our number those whom he is calling. People of God, will you welcome these candidates and uphold them in their new life in Christ?
They then reply: With the help of God, we will.