Many parents choose to mark the birth of a child with a Christening or a Thanksgiving service. Either, or both, can be arranged at St Michael’s Church.
Your child is precious to you, and precious to God. A Christening (Baptism) service marks your decision to start your child on a journey of faith and is a special day for you, your friends and family.
Around 10,000 babies and children are baptised in the Church of England every month, and everyone is welcome to have their children christened in their parish church. We also welcome adults who want to be baptised.
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. Godparents and parents will make promises on behalf of the baby, and prayers will be offered for the baby and the family.
The service, where the child is baptised in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, is a sign of a new beginning, and that the child has become part of Godâ€™s family. 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.
There are no lower or upper age limits to who can be baptised and all children, babies and families are welcome for christenings â€“ no matter what shape that family takes. You do not have to be married to ask for a Christening for your child.Â 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.
Godparents are among the most important people at a christening, who make big promises to encourage their godchild to grow in faith and commit to helping them understand how to live their life in a Christian way.
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 three godparents, two of the same sex and at least one of the opposite sex. Parents may be godparents for their own children, providing they have at least one other godparent.
Godparents must be baptised themselves and old enough to make some serious promises on behalf of the child.
It is possible to have a Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child service instead of a christening if you decide that now isnâ€™t the right time to have your child baptised. You can even have the Thanksgiving service as well as a christening.
You might also choose this service when your baby is just born, or if you have adopted a child into your family and you simply want to celebrate this with special words said by a vicar in church.
A service of thanksgiving is a special, but simple, service and is a lovely time when you can be with friends and family, ask for Godâ€™s blessing and pray for your baby.
Arranging a Service
At St Michael’s we run a baby and toddler group called Mini Michaels on Thursdays in termtime (see our Children page). This is a perfect place to bring your baby and chat to us about their Christening.
If you cannot make that thenÂ please contact the Vicar via our Office â€“ tel. 01665 602797 (staffed part time only, so please leave a message and someone will get back to you as soon as possible) or email email@example.com. For more information about christening in the Church of England, please see the website Church of England Christenings.