Everyone is welcome to have a their baby or child baptized in their parish church. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about getting your baby or child baptized.
1. What is the difference between a Baptism and a Christening?
There is no difference between a Christening service and a Baptism service.
2. Can anyone have a child baptized?
Yes, so long as they have not been baptized already. The Church of England welcomes all babies, children and families for Baptisms – whatever shape that family takes. You do not have to be married to ask for a baptism for your child. You do not have to be an active churchgoer – as parents, you do not even have to have been baptised yourselves. Everyone is welcome.
3. What about godparents?
Godparents are some of the most important people at the baptism.
Godparents are not the people who will care for your child should anything happen to you. Arrangements for this would normally be made by a Will. Rather, they should be people who will be there for your child and help them think about the bigger questions in life – questions of love, hope and faith.
Traditionally there are three godparents, two of the same sex and at one of the opposite sex. Parents may be godparents for their own children, providing they have at least one other godparent.
Godparents must be baptized themselves and old enough to make some serious promises on behalf of the child.
4. How much does a baptism service cost?
The good news is that a baptism service is free. There may be costs for your family party afterwards, for gifts, or for clothes, but the church service is free.
5. Where can we hold the baptism?
You can have your baby baptised at your local parish church and it is held as part of the main Sunday service.
6. Can we arrange a baptism at a separate time to the Sunday service?
This does not normally happen because your child is being welcomed into the fellowship of the church and therefore the congregation need to be there to do the welcoming.
7. How do I arrange a baptism?
Contact Lesley and she will help you.
8. How old should my child be?
You can have your baby or child baptised at any age. There is no upper age limit, but after about the age of seven your child may be able to make the promises for themselves and they may be prepared for baptism.
9. What happens in the service?
At your child’s baptism, water will be blessed and poured on the child’s head – this is the baptism of your baby (the word ‘baptism’ means ‘to be immersed in water’). The child will be signed with the cross using a special oil which has been blessed by the Bishop of Guildford. A candle from the church will be given. Godparents and parents will make promises on behalf of the child, and prayers will be offered for the child and the family. There will also be readings and hymns, which you may be able to choose – ask Lesley if you have any special requests.
10. What exactly is Baptism?
Baptism marks the beginning of a journey with God which continues for the rest of our lives. This first step is a response to God’s love. It is also a celebration, a time to come together with family and friends; remembering that your child is loved by God, is part of a wider community and has a place with God’s people.