A time for celebration, to come together with family and friends; remembering that you are loved by God, are part of a wider community and have a place with God's people.
A Baptism or Christening (you can use either term) is a very happy event in the life of a child or adult. The church community at Blackwell Parish Church welcome your interest in seeking baptism and we look forward to sharing in this very important occasion with you. A baptism service is not just a very special day for family members, relatives and friends to enjoy, but the beginning of a life long journey with God, and association with his Church.
The Parish Church is not into creating hurdles for you to climb over before considering baptising your child. Baptism is a joyful experience, from which it is hoped that you will feel welcomed by the church community, and feel encouraged to return! The church is celebrating in your baptism service a relationship being formed between God, your child, parents and god-parents.
It is not easy sometimes bringing a young family to church, but it is hoped that you will feel that the effort is rewarded when you do come after the baptism. Every parent wants the very best for their child in terms of happiness and personal fulfilment. Included in this must be the desire for a child to learn about God and what it means to know and love him. The Christian faith offers everyone the opportunity to root and ground their life in God, discovering our gifts, and finding happiness and a sense of belonging within God's family. Everyone involved in the ministry of Blackwell Parish Church will do all that they can to welcome and support you during and after the service.
Jesus began his ministry in the River Jordan when he was baptised. At this point he understood that God was his Father, and through his baptism he received the presence of God's power and love in the Holy Spirit. After his death on Good Friday and resurrection on Easter Day, Jesus commanded his followers to make new disciples and baptise them too. This is what happens to your child through their baptism.
All Saints’, Blackwell has an 'open' baptism policy, which means that it does not like to say no! However, if you live outside the parish boundary of Blackwell, you are asked as a matter of courtesy to contact your local vicar to inform them of your child's baptism taking place at this Parish Church.
Ideally every christening would take place within a person's local parish church and therefore allow a relationship to grow. However, it is recognised that we live in an era of increased mobility and choice and we welcome every opportunity to build a relationship through the contacts made with us. We would ask though, that when a baptism has been conducted at All Saints’, that you would consider this as your parish church.
Nobody should want to impose his or her will on others. However, a parent has to make decisions quite early on that affect their child's well-being and development. These choices are made in love. A child needs milk for their nourishment until they are old enough, so why not also support their spiritual nourishment and teach them about the love of God from an early age?
When they are old enough there is the opportunity for a person to choose for themselves whether they would like to understand more about the Christian faith and make an adult affirmation of faith at a Confirmation Service.
Jesus told his disciples to baptise people who wanted to become Christians and join the church. Baptism is not like an insurance policy, which you take out to make sure that your baby goes to heaven; God loves your child just as much now as after the service.
Part of the baptism service is the promise of the Christian community around you to support you in the bringing up of your child to know God's love and presence within their lives. This affirms that you are not on your own, and that everyone is on a journey of discovery and understanding, whether they have been recently baptised, or are a bit further along the road.
Christenings ideally take place during the 10.30am Sunday Parish Communion Services at church, because part of the service is the welcoming of the child by God’s gathered community. The baptism takes place within the Parish Eucharist (Holy Communion) as a reminder that in the breaking of bread we sit and eat with God as his family. (Christenings can take place at other times by arrangement with the Vicar – generally at 12.15pm on a Sunday.)
Some parts of the service will be for the whole congregation to join in; some will be for you and the godparents.
It is not a requirement that parents are christened themselves – but a person is never too old to be christened, and if you are an adult who was not christened as a child then we hope that christening may be something which you would like to consider for yourself. Parents and godparents will be making declarations on behalf of a child, and therefore it is very important that these declarations can be made confidently and with a commitment to fulfil them.
You will need to consider who you want to have as godparents. Godparents are required to have been christened themselves, so that they are able to make the baptism promises confidently and with the full awareness of the commitments they are making. Being asked to be a godparent is always a real privilege and shows that you have a special place in the family, but there are expectations and responsibilities too. You are asked to promise that you will love and encourage the child in the Christian faith by prayer, example and teaching. Parents should not feel pressurised to choose the wrong people but try to find people who can make the promises and mean them. There is no right or wrong number of godparents - the minimum is one godmother and one godfather.
During the christening service the congregation is promising you and your child that it will support and pray for you and provide facilities for your child's Christian upbringing - usually through Sunday School and other organisations.
There are then some questions about the way you intend to live your life. Parents and Godparents make the promises for themselves and also for the child. They apply to their own lives and on behalf of the children for whom they will be responsible. Here are the questions with a short explanation:
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 my them.
When you say this you are saying ‘I am sorry about the past and I know that I am accountable to God for my actions and thoughts. I can never be perfect but as I admit what is wrong he forgives and accepts me.
I know that I sometimes have to make choices between good and evil. I want to set the evil behind me and from now on I will always try to choose the good.’
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.
When you say this you are saying ‘I want to change direction. I accept that my life is not totally my own. I acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and I will try to follow his teaching and his guidance for my life day by day.’
The parents and godparents will be asked, together with the whole congregation, to declare their own Christian faith in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. During the declarations made on behalf of a child being baptised, parents and godparents will affirm their belief in God the Father who made the world; in Jesus Christ whose death on the cross has brought humanity life, and in God's Holy Spirit who gives life to the people of God.