See also: Your Wedding at St Mary's
To discuss a Christening, Thanksgiving or Baptism at St Mary's contact the Parish Office. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
If you are considering asking to have your child Christened in St Mary's we want to assure you of our prayers and support. With the introduction of Common Worship in recent years, the Church of England now offers a much wider provision under the heading of Pastoral and Initiation Services, and the choice of which service is appropriate for you is something that needs to be thought through carefully, and this leaflet is designed to help.
For those who are newly born there is a Service of Thanksgiving, and a Service of Baptism. However, in this day and age people's spiritual journeys are much more varied, so, for adults, the provision has been included to include services of Baptism, Confirmation, Affirmation of Baptismal Faith, and Reception into the Church of England. There are different implications behind each of these choices, and it is important to chose the service that is right for you.
Baptism marks the first steps in a person's journey of faith. This journey is a process of discovery which takes place within a community. The Church, parents and godparents are partners within the common adventure of faith, and this sense of collaboration underlies the solemn vows that are made on behalf of a child in infant baptism. In the service the godparents, parents and Church promise to keep the child in their prayers and to help him or her in their journey of faith. Their vows include the following questions and answers, and it is important that godparents have made these vows for themselves before making them on behalf of someone else.
Do you reject the devil and all rebellion against God?
I reject them
Do you renounce the deceit and corruption of evil?
I renounce them
Do you repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbour?
I repent of them
Do you turn to Christ as Saviour?
I turn to Christ
Do you submit to Christ as Lord?
I submit to Christ
Do you come to Christ, the way, the truth and the life?
I come to Christ
Baptism has always been a sign of membership of the Church, which is why it is important that this service relates to the ongoing life of the local church. Any relationship goes through times of change and development. At a baptism a child begins his or her Christian journey and there are other stages on this road such as confirmation and first communion. Parents and godparents have an immensely important part to play in all this because it is their task to give the child they have brought for baptism the opportunity of growing in faith, just as he or she will develop physically or emotionally.
In the service of Baptism parents and godparents are affirming their own Christian faith and promising that they will bring up a child within that faith and within the family of the Church. Understandably some people feel that commitment is not something they can undertake but they would still like to give thanks for this wonderful moment in their lives. The birth or adoption of a child is a cause for celebration, and this service provides an opportunity for parents and families to give thanks and to pray for their life together.
This service does not involve the same solemn promises as a service of Baptism but includes special prayers for the child and for his or her parents. Just as a child is dependant on the food provided by others, so we all need to feed on the Word of God, and in this service the child is presented with a special Bible which will be a source of spiritual nourishment in their journey of faith.
Increasingly everyone is making their own individual journey of faith. Better relations between the different denominations mean it is not unusual for people to move from one church to another in their spiritual pilgrimage. Sometimes they feel that they have found their "home" in the Church of England and wish to be formally received into the Anglican family. This is done by the Bishop in a special part of the Confirmation Service. Others have found that although they have been baptised or confirmed at a young age their faith journey has involved time away from the Church family. It is not possible to be "rebaptised" or "reconfirmed" but it is possible to solemnly reaffirm your baptismal vows, and that too can be done with the Bishop at a Confirmation Service or in your local church with people you know.
Because the whole Church is being asked to pray for the child being baptised, it is important that the service has an element which involves the whole congregation. Ideally the whole service can be included in one of the Family Services at 9.30am on the first Sunday of the month, or during the 10.30am Choral Eucharist on other Sundays. If that is not possible then it is possible to arrange a service at midday, and we ask that the family present its child at the next Family Service, when we are able to welcome them into God's family and present them with their certificate and a children's Bible.
This service is well suited to the traditional, quiet service for close family members in a church late on Sunday morning, or in the afternoon. Because the Service of Thanksgiving does not include the same commitment to growing within the family of the Church there is not the same need for the service to link in with the wider congregation. Nevertheless, we would be happy to welcome you to one of the Family Services and to present the Bible on that occasion.
Usually there are three godparents, traditionally two godmothers for a girl and two godfathers for a boy, but this is flexible. However, it is usual for all godparents to have been confirmed and vital that they are baptised.
You are more than welcome to take photos around the font after the service, or to gather people together to video family and friends, but often we find that if these things are done in the service more people watch the camera than the baby!
The first thing to do is to think through all that you have just read. There may be things with which you agree, some things with which you disagree, and some things that puzzle you. We are willing to talk further about any of this and to help you in any way we can. If you would like to take things further please contact Revd Vaughan Roberts at the Rectory, the Butts, Warwick, or on 01926 492909.
The churches in the Warwick Team make every effort to welcome children to their worship. At St Mary's there is a Family Service at 9.30am on the first Sunday of the month, and a Sunday School meets on the other three Sundays during the 10.30 Sung Eucharist. To find out more please ring 01926 312861. Looking ahead we have choirs for girls (aged 9 to 18, and for boys (aged 7 to 14). Please contact our Director of Music through the Parish Office on 01926 403940. We understand the pressures which can make it difficult to fulfil the vows you make on behalf of your child and are working hard to provide the support parents and families need in this day and age.
Whatever you decide, please be assured of our care and concern for you and your child. If there is any way in which we can be of help please do not hesitate to ask.