What is baptism?

In baptism, you as parents are:

  • thanking God for his gift of life
  • deciding to start your child on the journey of faith, and
  • asking for the Church’s support.

For your child, baptism marks the start of a journey of faith, which involves:

  • turning away from the darkness of self-centredness
  • turning towards Christ, and
  • becoming a member of the local and worldwide Christian family.

Baptism is a ‘sacrament’: a visible sign of God’s love. In baptism, we are thanking God for his gift of life and publicly acknowledging his love. We are acknowledging that we all need to turn away from the darkness of  evil and to make a new start with God.

Making decisions and promises

When you bring your child for baptism, you will be asked to declare publicly on behalf of your child that you believe in God and that you will bring your child up to follow Jesus.

You will be asked to answer on your child’s behalf, that you have decided to turn away from everything which is evil or sinful and to turn instead towards Christ.

The declarations made by you and the child’s godparents will be made in front of the church congregation. The Christian community will promise to support you and pray for you and your child.

The meaning of confirmation

What we now call confirmation was originally part of a wider ceremony of Christian initiation and only became a separate rite when bishops were no longer able to preside at all baptisms.

As a separate rite, confirmation marks the point in the Christian journey at which the participation in the life of God’s people inaugurated at baptism is confirmed by the bishop by the laying on of hands, and in which those who have been baptised affirm for themselves the faith into which they have been baptised and their intention to live a life of responsible and committed discipleship. Through prayer and the laying on of hands by the confirming bishop, the Church also asks God to give them power through the Holy Spirit to enable them to live in this way.

When confirmation is part of a combined rite including adult baptism it has a slightly different significance. In this case, as in the traditional Western service of initiation mentioned above, the confirmation element signifies the gift of the Holy Spirit following on from baptism in water. The biblical model for this is Christ’s own baptism in which, the gospels tell us, the Spirit descended on Him when He came up out of the water after having been baptised by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:16-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22, John 1:32-33).

Please contact the church office (Tel. 01926 421004) or email us for further details on Baptism or Confirmation.

For more information, see the Church of England website.