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Baptism at St Mary's Watton

Baptism marks the beginning of a journey of belonging to Jesus Christ, the first step in response to God’s love. God wants us to know his love and he invites each person to turn away from evil, sin and darkness and to turn to him. In Baptism (sometimes called a Christening), Parents, Godparents and the Church recall their faith in Jesus Christ and promise to help your child on his or her journey of faith, that he or she may grow in knowledge of the love of God.


Baptism marks the beginning of membership of the local and worldwide Christian family.  Christians describe Baptism as a ‘sacrament’, a visible sign, reminding us of God’s love.


What promises will you be asked to make at a Baptism?


The Church, Parents and Godparents are asked to promise to help your child in his or her journey of faith.  Parents and Godparents promise to:

 

  • pray for the child;
  • draw him or her by their example into the community of faith (the church);
  • walk with him or her  in the way of Christ. 

 

In making these promises, we ask God to help us to do our very best to fulfil them. 


What will you be asked to say about what you believe?


If Parents and Godparents are to help a child on this journey, they too need to be walking in the same direction! 


In the Baptism Service, they declare that they have decided to walk in the way of Christ and that now they want to choose this way for the child.  They are asked three questions:

 

  • Do you turn to Christ?
  • Do you repent of your sins?
  • Do you renounce evil?

 

Later in the Baptism Service, everybody joins together to say they believe and trust in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit ~ the Christian understanding of God.
During our visits to your home we will talk together about the promises and statements of faith.  We will also guide you through the practicalities of the service and answer any questions.

 

When did Baptism start?

 

The Bible records some of the events in Jesus’ life and his teaching.  In the Gospel, Jesus’ own baptism is described and he tells others to be baptized.  The Bible also tells of individuals and their families who chose to be followers of Jesus and be baptized. 

 

Why do we use water?

 

Baptism has always involved water. 

 

  • When Jesus was baptized, he was immersed in the River Jordan.  When your child is baptized, the Minister will pour water over his or her head.
  • Baptism involves a decision to turn away from evil and to turn to Jesus Christ.  This is symbolised in the water of baptism, as we symbolically drown and die to our old life, before being raised with Christ to new life. 
  • Just as we use water to wash away the dirt on our bodies, so in baptism the water is a sign of being washed free from sin and beginning a new life with God. 
  • Water is also life giving ~ without it we would physically die.  In baptism water reminds us that just as we need water to live, so we need God’s Spirit living in us.  God himself is the water of life.

 

Beyond Baptism to Confirmation

 

As a Church we want to continue the partnership we have begun at Baptism and so support you in bringing up your child in the Christian faith ~ we do hope that we will see you and your family in church and that we grow to be friends as we welcome you and your child into the family of God.


We hope too that as your child grows up he or she will decide to follow Jesus and will want to confirm the promises made on his or her behalf at Baptism.  This happens in a Confirmation Service, which is conducted by the Bishop and is usually supported by friends and family.  This is a special day for Parents and Godparents, as they celebrate the fulfillment of the promises made at Baptism.

 

Help!  I’m not sure I have enough faith!

 

You may feel that you have not got enough faith to answer these questions with absolute confidence ~ don’t worry! 


As Christians we are all at different stages in our journey, you may well have doubts and questions, what matters is that you know that you want to follow Jesus Christ.  It may be that as you seek to walk with your child in his or her journey of faith, you decide you want to find out more about God’s love for yourself.   We are always willing to talk further with you – to talk through questions, concern and…. Whatever else!! 


It may be that baptism is not right for you and your child at this moment in time ~ that doesn’t mean you can’t have a service in church ~ you might find that a Thanksgiving Service is a better choice for you.  The Service of Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child offers parents, family and friends the opportunity to say ‘Thank you’ to God for the birth or adoption of their young child. 

 

Your decision….. a choice to be made…. We hope that you now feel able to make the right decision for you and your child.  Don’t forget, if you want to talk more ring  Revd Gerry Foster  on  01953 881439.