A Guide to Blessings and Baptisms
The birth or adoption of a child is a cause for celebration. Many people are overcome by a sense of awe at the creation of new life and want to express their thanks to God. At your local Parish Church we would like to join in your celebrations by offering you a choice of services for your child.
This page is designed to help explain what is on offer to you.
The first option is to ask for a blessing of your child. This is very simple and just involves the priest coming to your home and praying for God’s Blessing to be on you and your child.
The second option is for you to bring your child to Church for a Service of Thanksgiving. The Service of Thanksgiving provides an opportunity for parents and families to give thanks for the birth or adoption of a child and to pray for family life within the context of God’s love. Thanksgiving Services usually take place on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
The Service of Thanksgiving for the birth of a child is a short service, which focuses on expressing the feelings of gratitude associated with the birth of a child. Your child is named and blessed and given a present of a Gospel. You are encouraged to have sponsors to help and support you and your child as you care for and bring the child up. The sponsors may or may not become godparents if your child is baptised later. The Thanksgiving Service is a good opportunity to celebrate in church the arrival of your child within a home/family context. This service is not the same as a Baptism (sometimes called a Christening).
Baptism is the sacrament of initiation into membership of the church, the Body of Christ. It is a once for life commitment. Baptisms are held as part of the main Sunday morning worship service showing their importance to the church community and reinforcing the fact that Baptism is the rite of entry into the Christian church. The services are held roughly monthly to fit into the church’s calendar and focus on the Christian commitment being made. During the service the Parents and Godparents will make declarations about their faith and promises about bringing the child up in the Christian faith. The child will be baptised with water and welcomed into their new family.
The Baptismal Promises
To be made by parents and godparents
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.
Should you decide (as I hope you will) to have a Blessing, a Service of Thanksgiving for the birth of your child, or a Baptism, then the next step is to come and talk to me so we can sort out the details.
You may decide to have one, two, or all three of these Services for your child. If you would like any help deciding what would suit you best then please ask. You are free for example just to have a Blessing or Service of Thanksgiving, if you feel you can’t yet make the Baptismal promises with integrity.
However, if you would like to find out more about the Christian faith, so that you feel confident about making the Baptismal promises, then a course is available to help answer any questions you may have.
If you have any questions or suggestions then please let me know.
Looking forward to meeting you soon,
Reverend Mary Ireland