What happens at Baptism?
Baptism is the Sacrament through which a person, adult or child, is adopted by God as His child. The person, baptised with water "In the Name of the Father and the Son of the Holy Spirit", receives all the privileges and responsibilities of a child of God and becomes a member of the Church. It is the beginning of the journey of eternal life. Children are baptised on the understanding that their parents promise to bring them up in a life of worship, prayer and Christian service, and that the children will be given an opportunity to undertake those promises themselves in the sacrament of Confirmation.
If you are contemplating baptism for your child or if you are an adult thinking about this gift for yourself, this page discusses the meaning of baptism as the Church understands it. Of course perhaps the best way to explore whether this gift is right for you or not, is to talk to the Parish Priest about it. Why not contact the Parish Office to ask to speak to him to discuss baptism with you. Another way would be to just turn up at 9:30 a.m. at High Mass on a Sunday morning to experience our worship. You will be very welcome.
Baptism is one of the great turning points in a person's life!
In baptism, a person declares his faith in and love for Jesus; he puts his old way of life behind him and starts a new one; and he asks for and receives God’s help in doing it.
For Christians, community life has always been an essential (although we do not always live up to our ideal). Just as Jesus built up a community of people who were bound to him and to each other in love and with a common vision, so after his death Christians formed a community of love built round Christ and linked to him and to each other by love and a shared understanding of the purpose of life.
Put another way, through baptism we are adopted as children of God. When a husband and wife adopt a baby, the baby takes their name and becomes part of their family. It is through baptism that we are adopted by God and become part of his family. Through baptism we can truly call God “our Father”. Thus at baptism we receive the family sign, the sign of the cross. Thus too we affirm our belief in the faith of the Church.
The word baptism means plunging. Jesus, having experienced suffering and loss, died and then rose again triumphantly to a new life. In baptism we share that experience. We died, as it were, to our old life and rise again to a new. We put the past behind us and begin a new life of love and obedience to Jesus. So in the baptism service we put all that is bad behind us, and affirm our intention with God’s help to make a new start.
Who can be godparents?
Godparents are responsible adults who share with the parents in the privilege of bringing up the child in the Christian faith. In the service of Baptism they solemnly promise to guide the child to the stage where he or she is able to make a public declaration of Christian faith in the presence of a bishop at the sacrament of Confirmation. Godparents must be baptised themselves. They should be in a position where they will have a direct influence on the life of their godchild, and where they will be able to lead them to Confirmation at the appropriate time. It is preferred, but not essential, that godparents also be confirmed. Traditionally, a boy has two male godparents and one female godparent. A girl traditionally has two female godparents and one male godparent. Other combinations are, however, not unusual.
What about adult Baptism?
Adults who are being baptised do not need godparents. It is presumed that they understand the importance and significance of the commitment they are making. They should be presented for the sacrament of Confirmation as soon as possible following Baptism.
How do we organise the Baptism?
If you would like to be baptised, or if you would like your child to be baptised, please contact the Parish Priest, who will arrange an interview. At this interview, the parents (and godparents), or the adult seeking Baptism, will be prepared for the sacrament, and arrangements will be made for the service. Normally, Baptism takes place either during or after our Sunday Eucharistic Services. If you have any questions or concerns, the Parish Priest will be only to happy to discuss them with you.
Does it cost anything?
The Church does not 'sell' sacraments, so no specific fee is charged by the priest to perform the baptism. However, it is customary to make an offering to the church as a sign of gratitude. The value of this offering should be in keeping with the family's financial situation but should not, as a guide, be significantly less than what is spent on the social aspects of the event, such as the christening party, gifts to the godparents etc.
Baptisms at All Saints’ Wickham Terrace generally take place during the 9:30 a.m. Sunday High Mass. It happens then because the Bible teaches that baptism is not simply about the individual person and their relationship with the Lord, but also about being united into a relationship with everyone else who has been baptised.
The members of the congregation will be delighted that a baptism is taking place, because they know that their Lord is delighted. They will be glad to meet you because they will see you as a gift from the Lord. They believe that your desire to come for baptism is a sign that God is blessing you and them.
The date of the baptism is agreed with the Parish priest. The best preparation for baptism is the experience of worship. Come and join us!