Thanksgiving and Infant Baptisms/Christenings

Psalm 139:14-16: My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Children are a blessing from the Lord, and we love to welcome children and young people to church services and events within the Benefice.

Thanksgiving for the Birth or Adoption of a Child

We rejoice in God's gift of children, and we offer a special, simple service of thanksgiving to any family that wants it. Unlike baptism, it does not require the parents to make any promises on their child's behalf, and it does not involve water. It is still, however, a chance to gather friends and family, ask for God's blessing and pray for your child, and if you would like to include it, a 'Naming' ceremony.

Sometimes parents choose a Thanksgiving service, rather than a Baptism for their child. Sometimes parents have a Thanksgiving service, and then choose to baptise their child at a later stage.

Infant Baptism/Christening

If you would like to make a commitment to bringing your child up in the Christian faith, the baptism (often called 'Christening') service enables you as parents, with godparents to make promises on behalf of your child. As part of the baptism service, the church also formally welcomes your child into the Christian community.

The Baptismal Promises (responses in bold)...

People of God, will you welcome this child and uphold them in their new life in Christ?
With the help of God, we will.

Parents and godparents, the Church receives this child with joy. Today we are trusting God for her growth in faith. Will you pray for them, draw them by your example into the community of faith, and walk with them in the way of Christ?
With the help of God, we will.

In baptism this child begins their journey in faith. You speak for them today. Will you care for them, and help them to take their place within the life and worship of Christ's Church? 
With the help of God, we will.

In baptism God calls us out of darkness into His marvellous light. To follow Christ means dying to sin and rising to new life with Him. Therefore I ask:

  • Do you reject the devil and all rebellion against God? I reject them.
  • Do you renounce the deceit and corruption of evil? I renounce them.
  • Do you repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbour? I repent of them.
  • Do you turn to Christ as Saviour? I turn to Christ.
  • Do you submit to Christ as Lord? I submit to Christ.
  • Do you come to Christ, the way, the truth, and the life? I come to Christ.

As a Benefice, we are committed to supporting everyone in their spiritual development, and provide a number of groups, events, services and resources to help support parents as they seek to live out the promises made at baptism (please see pages under Young People on this website).

NB: Baptism is not just for infants. If you are the parent of an older child, or a teenager/adult interested in baptism and/or confirmation, please contact the Rector via rev.tim.office@gmail.com.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

I don't live in the parish. Can my child still be baptised in St Katharine's or St Margaret's?
We recognise that for many families St Katharine's or St Margaret's is their 'family' church, and deep historic links may be in place, although they may no longer live in the parish for various reasons. The Rector is able to (and frequently does) baptise children who live outside the parish. In order to do this, he is required by Church of England law to 'seek the goodwill' of the vicar of the parish where the family live. If you don't know which parish you live in, the A Church Near You website enables you to look this up based on postcode.

What do I need to do next?
Please contact the Rector via the contacts form on this website, or by emailing the Benefice Office (rev.tim.office@gmail.com).

Baptism is one of two sacraments within the Church of England (the other is the Lord's Supper) and as such requires some preparation. To cover this preparation, Tim meets with parents for three sessions of around an hour to discuss what the promises mean. This gives parents time and space to explore the baptism service, ask any (really, any!) questions about the Christian faith, and ensure that they can make those promises in good conscience and integrity. Tim will meet with you even if you have had previous children baptised.

Baptism prep can take place at the Rectory or in your home. It is often easier to concentrate if someone else is babysitting your children, but we recognise this isn't always possible. Tim keeps Wednesday evenings free for baptism and wedding prep meetings, but also has some flexibility to meet during the day, or at the weekends, if work commitments make Wednesday evenings difficult.

When preparation is complete, Tim will discuss potential dates for the baptism with you - so do book in for baptism prep in good time. Sometimes parents decide that that aren't ready to make those commitments, but would still like to welcome the baby amongst friends and family in church, and opt for a Thanksgiving service instead (see above).  

Can I have a baptism/thanksgiving service on [specific date]?
Baptisms take place as part of the All-Age Service in each parish held on the 1st Sunday of the month. Thanksgiving services can be held at any time, as long as both the church and the Rector are available.