Baptism Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a baptism and a christening?
There is no difference, these terms are interchangeable but for simplicity we tend to refer to being baptised at a baptism service.
What is baptism?
During a baptism your child will be baptised with water. It is a special day however it is not just a ‘one off’ celebration, it is the start of your child’s journey in the Christian faith – something that will fundamentally shape their beliefs, values and character as they grow, as well as providing them with friends and support throughout their lives. During the service you and the godparents make promises, in front of your friends and loved ones, to raise your child in the Christian faith and help guide them in their journey.
We recognise that you are choosing to have your child baptised in church for a reason (as opposed to having a non-religious naming ceremony) but if you don’t feel that you can make the promises with integrity then there is the option of a ‘Thanksgiving’ service. This service still takes place in church and celebrates the birth and gift of your child but is more about giving thanks to God, praying for them and for you as parents. Do please speak to us to find out more.
What is the process to get my child baptised?
Please read all the information available to you and then get in touch with Rev Hannah to express an interest. She will explain to you our expectation that parents attend church at least once a month in the run up to the baptism service and will tell you about our different services. Once you have attended one of our worship services you will then receive the booking form and in consultation with Rev Hannah will set the date for your baptism. We will then be in touch to invite you to attend our next baptism preparation sessions which are a mandatory part of the process. In these sessions we explain what baptism is about and tell you everything you need to know.
Who needs to attend the baptism preparation sessions?
It would be great if both parents/guardians can be at the preparation session where circumstances and childcare allow but we understand if this is not possible. We also warmly invite and encourage all godparents, who live locally to attend too.
What days are baptism services held on?
Our baptism services are held on a Sunday during our main Sunday worship services unless there are exceptional circumstances. This means the members of the Church family are there to welcome you and your child into their new family and you will have got to know them as you have worshipped with us so it will be a great celebration for all.
Your baptism may be at:
9.15am @All Saints, Higher Walton
11.15am @ Holy Trinity, Hoghton
4pm @All Saints, Higher Walton as part of our 4forAll service. (4forAll is our informal family friendly service)
Can I pick a specific date?
When you first speak to Rev Hannah she will discuss with you dates for baptism, we will try our best to accommodate you but we only hold one baptism service a month at each congregation and we like to keep the service special by just having one family at a time so you may have to wait a little and/or be flexible about dates.
Who is entitled to be baptised at All Saints, Higher Walton?
Our baptism policy states that:
Baptism in one of the churches in the plurality is available to
a. anyone resident in the parish of All Saints, Higher Walton or Holy Trinity, Hoghton; you can find out if you live within one of our parishes by entering your postcode here
b. those on the Electoral Roll of either parish;
c. those who regularly attend worship in one of the churches of the parish;
d. those who have a previous connection to one of the churches because they, or their parents, were married in the church, or they worshipped in one of the churches regularly for a period of time.
What is a Godparent?
Godparents, are people you chose who will help you bring up your child as a member of God’s family therefore it is important that you chose them carefully as they will be making the same promises as you will be about taking Jesus, Christianity and the church seriously. Please note that all Godparents have to be baptised. This is because they are making promises about helping your child to grow in their faith. If the Christian faith is not something they believe in, then how are they, with integrity, going to make the promises required of them?
Many families feel pressure to bestow the role of godparent onto someone to signify how special and important they are in their lives (e.g. a close aunt or uncle). They will be making promises, along with you as parents, to support and pray for them as you guide them in growing in the Christian faith. It is a matter of integrity, if they do not feel comfortable making these promises, then they can still have a special part in your child’s life, but maybe the role of godparent isn’t right for them.
How many Godparents can I have?
It is traditional to have 3 Godparents (2 the same sex as the child, and one of the opposite sex) – but this is not a steadfast ‘rule’. If you are struggling for 3 godparents then please do speak to us, there are other options.
Is there a cost?
There is no charge for having your child baptised. Families are of course welcome to make a donation to the church (as we do incur costs heating/lighting the building etc) but please be assured there is no obligation to do so – we would not want money to be a barrier to us welcoming your child into our church family.
What does the service involve?
The service will include songs, prayers, a reading from the Bible, a talk and the baptism part of the service.
If you would like to find out more about baptism please check out this website: https://churchofenglandchristenings.org/for-parents/