Baptism (Christening) and Confirmation
last updated on: 1st Jul 2014
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. To find out more on baptism/Christenings for babies and children visit www.churchofenglandChristenings.org The website also contains a wide range of resources for Godparents and visitors at Christenings.
If you were baptised as a baby or child there is also opportunity to own these words for yourself, to acknowledge God's faithfulness in your life and pray for His blessing. Two services provide space for this: Confirmation (being confirmed in the faith others prayed for when you were younger) and Re-affirmation of Baptismal Vows. To find out more on both contact your local vicar.
A growing number of people are becoming Christians as adults who were not baptised/Christened as babies or children. If this is you, many congratulations. Your local church would delighted to baptise you - a celebratory party event to mark your choice to be a follower Jesus. Sometimes this happens with a little water in a font; sometimes with more water in a baptistry (where you go under the water). It's the same service - but the differing amounts of water symbolically show slightly different things. Contact your local vicar for more information.
Thanksgiving for the birth or adoption of a child
Some parents might want to celebrate the gift of a child in a different way without the commitment that baptism involves. During the Thanksgiving service parents and families give thanks for the birth or adoption of a child and everyone prays for family life. It can take place in church with the congregation, or with just family and friends gathered, or elsewhere such as home, or even in hospital.
A Thanksgiving Service is not a Baptism. There are no promises to make about the Christian faith. The child will be blessed and prayed for, and supporting friends will promise to support the parents in bringing up their baby.
To find out more about a Thanksgiving Service contact your local vicar.