The gift of a baby is something that often brings parents back to Church. The miracle of a new life re-awakens a sense of gratitude, an awareness of the mystery at the heart of life. We may want to acknowledge our need for the grace of God as we are entrusted with such a precious and fragile life.
The Church offers two kinds of service for your babies and young children:
Thanksgiving. This is a service in which there is a thanksgiving to God for the gift of a child, there are prayers for the child and your family, there is a blessing and the child is named. It is a joyful service which leaves the way open for a baptism (‘christening’) at a later date. Some choose the Thanksgiving because they want their child to choose for themselves whether to be baptised or not when they’re older. Others don’t feel they can make the commitments asked of parents at a baptism, or cannot express an explicitly Christian faith for themselves. Honesty and realism are to be commended!
Baptism (‘christening’). Christian baptism is with water and in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It an initiation ceremony which includes elements of the thanksgiving service, but it is essentially a rite ( a ‘sacrament’) by which someone becomes a member of the Church community. Parents and godparents re-affirm their own Christian faith, and undertake to bring up their child in a Christian way of life. In particular, you promise to prioritise attending church with your child on a regular basis. The Church undertakes to support you in this.
Both thanksgivings and baptisms can be arranged to take place as part of a normal Sunday morning service, or to take place separately on a Sunday afternoon. If a baptism takes place on a Sunday afternoon, the parents also bring their child to the morning service on another occasion to be welcomed by the Church.
We are delighted when we are asked for a thanksgiving or a baptism service, so don’t hesitate to get in touch. But be aware that if you live outside our benefice and if your present connections with the life of the Church in Farlam are not very strong, we will encourage you to ask for a baptism service in your local parish church. This is because you are most likely to be able to fulfil your baptism promises in a church which is close to you.
The old stone font that stands at the front of the church is used in the service.
Advice about baptisms can be found on the Church of England web site.