Christening, baptism and thanksgiving
The arrival of a baby is a life-changing moment and many people want to mark it with a celebration at church. There are two services available at St Patrick's: a Thanksgiving service or a Baptism/Christening service.
What is a Baptism/Christening service?
Baptism and Christening are simply two different names for the same service. At St Patrick's we normally use the term baptism. Baptism is as old as Christianity itself. At the very start of church (2000 years ago) Jesus gave us baptism as a sign of his victory over evil and sin through his death on the cross and his victory over death in his resurrection from the dead. As a result it was a way in which people could show that they wanted to follow Jesus as their Lord and be part of his family, the church. So, for Christians baptism is a sign of the best news in the world, that God loves us so much that he was prepared to become a human being, like us, and die for us so that we might have the hope of life beyond our deaths. One of the most exciting events at St Patrick's is when adults choose to do this, when they become Christians.
However it is also the custom within the Church of England to baptise babies and children who are too young to make the promise to follow Jesus for themselves. Instead their parents and godparents make that promise for them and also promise to bring up that child to follow the Lord Jesus and to be part of their local church. The hope is then that when the child is old enough to make a decision to follow Jesus independently from their parents, they might then confirm their own faith in a service of confirmation.
All those wanting to get their children baptised will need to attend a three week baptism course, which is held during the morning service, so there is supervised provision for the care of children. This is normally done with other parents who are also considering baptism (much like an antenatal class!). Partly because of the need to do the preparation course and the restricted number of Sunday services, it is difficult to fit in baptisms at short notice.
What is a Confirmation service?
Confirmation is a service in which an adult who has been baptised, confirms their faith in Jesus to the church in the presence of a bishop and the bishop on behalf of the church recognises their declaration of faith. For more details contact our vicar, David King.
What is a Thanksgiving service?
The service of Thanksgiving is in part inspired by Jesus, who welcomed and blessed little children. For some parents, they want to mark the birth of their child and to give thanks to God for them, but they are not ready to make the step of baptism. For them, there is also a service of thanksgiving in which there are some prayers of thanksgiving, some promises made by the parents and prayer, by the vicar, for Jesus' blessing on the child.
My child is no longer a baby, is it too late?
Not at all. Baptism can happen at any age.
When do the baptism and thanksgiving services happen?
Part of baptism is the welcoming of the child into the family of the church and it is a big event at St Patrick's. As a result, the Church of England intends baptism to happen in a main service. In line with this we only hold baptism and thanksgiving services during our main morning service on a Sunday (which is at 10.30).
When do confirmation services happen?
Because the Bishop needs to come for a confirmation service, they are organised less frequently - usually once a year - and are held jointly with other churches in the area (sometimes at St Patrick's, sometimes at other nearby Anglican churches). They're usually held in the evening.
Can I get baptised with my child?
Does it cost anything for me or my child to be baptist at St Patrick's?
No, there's no charge for a baptism (nor for the preparation classes).