BaptismsBaptisms are always a joyful occasion in the life of any family whether it be for a new baby, or for an adult who has decided to follow Jesus. Whatever the age, Baptism is the symbolic start of the Christian pilgrimage through life. When it is a baby being baptised (also called a Christening) there is the added celebration of thanking God for a new life, and seeking his blessing on them as they grow up. When it is an adult being baptised, they are able to make the promises for themselves, and it is a wonderful opportunity to ‘stand up and be counted’ as a Christian.
What does Baptism stand for?
From the Bible we understand that Baptism stands for forgiveness. As the water is poured, it is a picture of God washing away our sins. None of us is perfect (even small children don't need to be taught to misbehave!) and as we grow up we go on doing the wrong things in life, even if we are better at keeping it secret! The fact is, we all need forgiveness. When Jesus died on the cross, he took our sin and its penalties on himself so we could go free and be part of his family. All we need to do is accept that forgiveness for ourselves.
Baptism also stands for New Life.
It was warmer in the land where Jesus lived, and the first Christians baptised in open water. Coming up out of the water and putting on new clothes was a symbol of entering new life. Our Baptism reflects that same idea of God giving new life by his Holy Spirit.
But why baptise babies?
In the Bible we read of whole households being baptised. It would be unfair not to include children when we know Jesus' love for them. So we welcome and baptise them, and pray that in due course they will come to faith for themselves, showing it in being Confirmed when they are older. In asking for children to be baptised, we hope that the parents (or at least one parent) are sincerely hoping that their family will grow up to find forgiveness and new life in Jesus. This is where the promises come in. Parents and Godparents promise to try and follow Jesus in their own lives, and intend to bring the child up in a Christian way.
What does it mean in practice?
You will be promising to bring them up in the Christian way. This includes:
- Praying for them
- Teaching them about Jesus; what he has done for us all and how he would like us to live .
- Setting them a good example of Christian living, both at home and at Church.
- Bringing them to Sunday Club and other children's events when they are old enough so that they may start to become part of the Christian Church.
Thanksgiving & Naming Ceremonies
Some people prefer to let their children grow up and then make their own choice. For them, a thanksgiving or naming ceremony is more appropriate. We thank God for the new life, pray for God's blessing, and formally give them their name(s). This ceremony does not include the symbol of water, so does not need to be in church.
If you would like to talk further about either a baptism or a thanksgiving, please make contact in the first instance with our Parish Administrator, Judy Noakes (01622 831890) or click here to email.
Below is a picture of Marden's seventeenth century font with its Jacobean cover.