Information about having your child baptised in one of our churches
Baptism for babies and children takes place in a service often called a Christening. In this service parents thank God for his gift of life, make a decision to start their child on a journey of faith and godparents promise help and support. The church also promises to welcome the child and to pray for the family.
For your child, being baptized at a Christening marks the start of a lifelong journey of faith as part of the local and worldwide Christian family.
Everyone is welcome to have a their baby or child baptized at a Christening in their parish church and with around 10,000 babies and infants being Christened each month in the Church of England, it remains a popular decision for parents.
Some Commonly Asked Questions
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.
What is the difference between a Baptism and a Christening?
There is no difference between a Christening service and a Baptism service. Some churches will use the word ‘baptism’ and some the word ‘christening’. Babies are Baptised during a christening service, just as couples are ‘married’ during a ‘wedding’ service.
Can anyone have a Christening service?
Yes, so long as they have not been Baptized already. The Church of England welcomes all babies, children and families for Christenings – whatever shape that family takes. You do not have to be married to ask for a Christening for your child. You do not have to have been a regular churchgoer – as parents, you do not even have to have been Christened yourselves. Everyone is welcome at their local church.
What about godparents?
Godparents are some of the most important people at the Christening. 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.
Every child should have at least 3 godparents, 2 of the same sex as your child and at least 1 of the opposite sex to your child. Parents may be godparents for their own children, providing they have at least one other godparent. Godparents must be baptized themselves and be old enough to make some serious promises on behalf of the child.
What happens in the service?
At your baby’s Christening, water will be blessed and poured on the baby’s head – this is the baptism of your baby (the word ‘baptism’ means ‘to be immersed in water’). The baby will be signed with the cross and a special oil may be used for this. A candle or other gift from the church may be given. Godparents and parents will make promises on behalf of the baby and prayers will be offered for the baby and the family. There may also be readings and hymns, which you may be able to choose – ask the vicar if you have any special requests.
So what do we do next?
If you wish your child to be baptised in one of our churches, or have any questions, please come along to one of our Baptism Booking Evenings detailed as follows:
- – For baptisms at Elmton or Creswell, please call at St Mary Magdalene’s Church, Creswell on the 1st Thursday of each month between 6pm and 7pm or call 01909 723342
- – For baptisms at Whitwell or Steetley, please call at St Lawrence Church, Whitwell on the 3rd Friday of each month between 6pm and 7pm or call 01909 724707
Prior to your child being baptised, you will be asked to attend a preparation session and a Family Service the month before the Baptism Service.