If you are enquiring about a Baptism or Thanksgiving Service for a baby or young child, please read on. If you are enquiring for yourself or a child who is old enough to speak for themselves, please contact one of the clergy through the Abbey Office.
The birth of a child is a special moment in life, and parents often want to mark that event in a special way. One of the traditional ways of doing that is to bring your child to church for either a service of Baptism, or a service of Thanksgiving. These events are sometimes called ‘christenings’.
Baptism is one of the ‘sacraments’ of the church. It is a special point where God meets us and gives us grace to help us know him and follow him. Baptism is the first step on a journey of faith and requires the person who is baptised to respond by believing in Jesus, committing their life to him, and becoming a part of the church. When young children are brought for baptism, because they cannot understand or speak for themselves, parents and godparents make these promises on their behalf. For this reason, parents and godparents must declare their own Christian faith during the service.
Thanksgiving services are an opportunity for parents to bring their child before God and the church to give thanks for the gift of new life and to ask for God’s blessing on the child. A service of Thanksgiving is a simple and joyful service of celebration and does not require the parents to make any promises. What’s more, it leaves the option open to the child in later life to choose for themselves whether they wish to follow Jesus, at which point they can decide to be baptised.
Both services can be held within the main service on a Sunday morning, or separately, normally at 12.00 and 12.30 on Sunday afternoons.
What to do?
If you would like to enquire about a service of Baptism or Thanksgiving for your child, the first step is to contact the church office, either by phone or by dropping in to see us. We will arrange for you to attend one of our 10.00am services on Sunday morning, to be followed by a brief meeting for enquiring families. At this meeting, we will explain in more detail the differences between the two services, and help you decide which option is best for you and your family.
Following this, you will be given a form to fill out on which you can let us know which service you would like for your child and you will be able to book a date for the service. If you choose a service of Baptism, there will be a second meeting at the Abbey, where we will spend more time thinking about what baptism involves, what it requires of you as parents, and what it will mean for your life as a family in the future. For both services, the priest taking the service for you will contact you to arrange to see you (normally at your home) shortly before the date to meet you and to sort out any final questions you may have.
For more information, please contact the church office. We look forward to welcoming you and your children.