Congratulations! It’s great to hear about the birth of your baby! And we’re really glad that you are interested in having a special service at St Tim’s for your child. This page will help you find out about:
- A blessing service
- A baptism, or Christening, service
- What actually happens
- How to organise a special service
- Children’s groups.
The birth of a child for most of us fills us with a sense of awe and wonder. It is probably the most significant event that has ever happened in our life. To say thank you to God for this new life is something that seems natural, and to have a service of blessing also creates a special occasion to mark the birth of the child amongst family and friends. For such a service, Godparents can also be chosen. Godparents are committed to the spiritual and physical well-being of the child. To have Godparents can be very important for the child as he or she grows up. Godparents are grown-ups with whom the child can have a special friendship, adults who he or she can trust and turn to in the years to come. The blessing service is held on a Sunday and is part of the normal Sunday worship of the Church. With this leaflet you will receive a copy of the service which shows where you join in. At one point in the service, parents and Godparents are asked to come forward with the child and join the minister. You will be invited to join in a prayer for your child. The minister will ask to hold the child, and will ask God to bless him or her. The child also receives a copy of one of the gospels and there are prayers for the parents and for the home of the child. Afterwards, people often invite friends and family back to share a meal, and to continue the celebrations!
How do we organise a blessing service?
The best service in which to hold the blessing is normally the 11am service (Family Worship) as it is designed to be child-friendly. So if you have children amongst the guests you will be inviting, this is the service they will find the most enjoyable. There are often people who don’t normally come to church at these services, which is helpful where guests are not regular church-goers. It’s advisable to choose a Sunday a couple of months in advance, to give people enough notice. Talk it over with your family and check possible dates with us.
You can download an application form.
Because baptism is about becoming a member of a local church, if you do not live in our parish, you might like to approach your own church first. You can check our parish boundary to see if you live in our parish. Even if you don’t, it still may be possible to baptise your baby at St Tim’s, but please speak to us before taking things further. As with a blessing, a baptism takes place as part of a normal Sunday Service, but this time we use water to baptise the child, and the parents are asked to play a far bigger part. For instance, they are asked if they are willing to bring up the child as a Christian and to share an active part in the life of their local church. And they are also asked to declare publicly their own faith and commitment to Jesus Christ and their own repentance and rejection of all that is wrong. The reason for all this is that when someone is baptised in water, it is a symbol that has at least three important meanings:
- It is a sign that God is willing to forgive their sins, to wash them away, because Jesus died for them on the Cross.
- It is a sign that the person wants to receive that forgiveness and has the faith and the will to “Turn to Christ” and turn their back on all that is wrong.
- It is a sign that the person who is so willing becomes a member of the church, a member of God’s forgiven People. A child is too young to understand any of this (!) so we baptise the child on the basis of the parents’ faith. Which is why the parents are asked all these questions before the baptism can take place!
How do we organise a baptism?
If baptism seems the right choice for you, we would like to spend some time discussing with you the Christian faith into which you would like your child to be baptised, and about the promises you will be making in the service – what they mean in practice. We run a short course about the Christian faith which you would be invited to attend. If there are other people who are wanting to take another look at Christianity, then the discussions might include them as well. We hope the discussions will help you to understand what the baptism promises mean and why they are important. Then you will be clearer in your own mind whether you are ready for baptism or if a thanksgiving service seems more appropriate, at least for the time being.
When will the service take place?
It is advisable to choose a Sunday a couple of months in advance, partly to give people notice, and partly to give you longer to make up your own mind. Once the date is booked and Godparents are chosen, you can decide which type of service to have later on. You can download an application form to start the process.