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Baptism at St Mary the Virgin, Davyhulme
Jesus was himself baptised as the sign of a new beginning. You can read the story at the start of St Mark’s Gospel. Jesus told his followers to baptise others as a sign that they had turned away from their old life and begun a new life as his followers. Now they were members of the Christian church. Age is no barrier to being baptised – at St Mary's we are pleased to discuss baptism for anyone, no matter how ‘young’.
How to Arrange as Baptism
At St Mary the Virgin, Davyhulme initial enquiries about baptism may be made as follows:
The baptism of children usually takes place on Sunday at 12.15 hrs, following the 10.30 service.
As part of your preparation for the baptism of your child you, together with your child's godparents, will be invited to attend our 10.30 am service on a Sunday Morning and also attend a short Baptism Preparation session, which is normally held in the Church on a Wednesday evening at 19.30 hrs.
What is baptism
Baptism is a sacrament; the symbols of oil, water and light are something ordinary themselves, but have a special 'sacred' or holy meaning.
In baptism these symbols mean that you or your child has turned to Jesus and wants to follow him and his ways.
Baptism is the sign that someone belongs to Christ, is part of the family of Christ.
In baptism, parents and godparents are: thanking God for his gift of life, making a decision to start your child on the journey of faith and asking for the Church's support.
When adults are baptised, often as part of a confirmation service, they make these promises for themselves.
Baptism marks the start of a journey of faith, which involves turning away from all that is evil, 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 for us. 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 selfishness and evil and to accept God’s offer of a new start.
What happens during the Baptism Service?
Baptism at St Mary, Davyhulme usually takes place after the morning services but members of the regular congregation are present to represent the whole church. This is so that you or your child can be seen to be joining the family of the Church and be welcomed into membership. In turn the Church will promise to support and pray for you or your child.
Part of the baptism service will be while you are in your pews at the front of the church, but for the baptism itself, candidates, parents and godparents will be asked by the priest to gather around the font.
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. Adults being baptised make these declarations for themselves.
You will be asked to answer questions on behalf of your child and say that you have decided to turn away from everything which is evil or sinful and instead to turn towards Christ.
The declarations made by you and your child's godparents will be made in front of the church congregation; the local Christian community will promise to support you and pray for you and your child. Again adults being baptised make these declarations for themselves.
Symbols and actions used during the service
A number of important symbols and actions will be used during the baptism service itself:
The sign of the cross - the priest will make the sign of the cross on your or your child's forehead. This is like an invisible badge to show that Christians are united with Christ and must not be ashamed to stand up for their faith in him. The priest will use a special ‘oil of baptism’ for this.
The priest says:
Christ claims you for his own.
Receive the sign of his cross.
Do not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified.
Water - the priest will pour water on your or your child's head. Water is a sign of washing and cleansing. In baptism it is a sign of being washed free from sin and beginning a new life with Christ.
The priest says:
May God, who has received you by baptism into his Church,
pour upon you the riches of his grace,
that within the company of Christ's pilgrim people
you may daily be renewed by his anointing Spirit,
and come to the inheritance of the saints in glory.
The welcome - the church congregation will say some formal words of welcome to acknowledge that you /your child has joined the Church and to show how pleased they are to have you among them.
Candles - Jesus is the Light of the World. A large candle is lit in the church before the service and you will also be given a lighted candle at the end of the service as a reminder of the light which has come into your or your child's life.
It is up to you, the child's godparents and the church community to help your child reject the world of darkness and follow a way of life that reflects goodness and light and shares this light with others.
The role of godparents
Godparents make the same promises on behalf of the child being baptised as do the child’s parents. Godparents promise to pray and support the child and to help the parents to bring up the child in the Christian faith. It is an important and responsible role.
Most families chose to have three godparents for their child: two of the same sex as the child and one of the opposite sex. Godparents can be family members or friends. However, it is important that you choose people who will take an interest in your child's spiritual welfare and who will pray for you and your child. Godparents must themselves be adults and have been baptized .
Frequently asked questions
Q. What's the difference between a baptism and a christening?
A. None, they are just different words for the same thing.
Q.Can we have a private service of baptism?
A. Baptisms at St Mary, Davyhulme usually take place after the church's main service, but they are a public service with a public declaration that your child has become part of the church family. It is important that others are there to support you and welcome you or your child.
Q. What is the right age for baptism?
A. Baptism can happen at any age. What matters is that those concerned are committed to bring up a child as a Christian following the Christain faith.
Teenagers and adults may also be baptized. This is often celebrated together with confirmation by the Bishop. You can only be baptised once, but there are ways of renewing your Christian commitment publicly as an adult – our Vicar will be able to advise you.
Q. I'm not a regular churchgoer. Can I still have my child baptised?
A. Yes. The Church believes that God's love is available to all, regardless of their background. However, to fulfill the promises that you or you as parents and godparents are making on behalf of your child to encourage them to grow in the Christain faith, it is important that you come to worship and bring your child to worship with other members of the Christian family.
Q. What does it cost?
A. A Baptism service is free, though there will be a collection during the service to contribute towards the running costs of this church.
Q. What happens after the baptism?
A. We offer a warm welcome to all families at any of our services. At our regular 10.30am service Sundays we have ‘children’s church’ activities for all ages and hope to be able to welcome you and your child to these.
Details of all our services and activities can be found on our church website www.stmarysdavyhulme.org
We hope that your child’s baptism will be a wonderful and memorable occasion and that it will mark the beginning of a long and happy association with this church.
Some material © The Archbishop Council 2003, 2007
For more information on baptisms of both children and adults at St Mary’s please contact :
Yvonne Mackereth : Baptism Co-ordinator
e-mail : email@example.com
Telephone : 0161 748 7296
Canon Chris Ford : Vicar
e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone : 0161 748 2210