Baptism (Christening) is a service of welcome. During the service new Christians formally mark the beginning of their Christian journey. Most commonly those brought to be baptised are young children, but older children and adults can also be baptised.
Following practices that go back to the early days of the Church, the priest will use holy oil to bless, holy water to cleanse, and give a lighted candle as a sign of the light of Christ.
Parents and Godparents make promises for themselves and for those being baptised which affirm their belief in God and their intention to nurture those being baptised in the Christian faith.
How do I book a baptism?
Ordinarily baptism takes place in your local Parish Church (the church where you live), but we recognise that some people share a connection with St. Lawrence Jewry and wish to arrange for it to happen here. You can contact the Church Office on 020 7600 9478 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will arrange for you to come to a meeting with the Guild Vicar. He will chat to you about the service and talk though the dates available.
Baptism Frequently Asked Questions
* What is the difference between a baptism and a christening?
There is no difference between a christening service and a baptism service. Some churches will use the word ‘baptism’ and some the word ‘christening’.
* How old should my child be?
You can have your baby or child christened at any age. There is no upper age limit, but there will come a time when your child will be able to make the promises for themselves.
* What if one or both parents aren’t christened?
You can have your child baptised at a christening regardless of whether or not you, the parents, are baptised. It is only the godparents who are required to be baptised.
* What is the role of a godparent?
Godparents are some of the most important people at a christening. Their main roles are: – To be there for the child to talk to about the bigger questions of life. Praying for the child through the ups and downs of their faith journey. Showing them how to make good choices in life, for themselves and for others. Helping them to learn more about the Christian faith, through their church and in other ways.
* What if I’ve been asked to be a Godparent and not thought much about my faith or go to church regularly?
Being asked to be a godparent is a good opportunity to think about your own faith. Because of your special role, you do have to be christened yourself. If you feel you can make those big promises in church on behalf of your godchild, you’re ready.
* Does being a godparent mean I become a legal guardian as well?
No. Godparents are not the people who will care for the child should anything happen to the parents.
* Is there a minimum age for godparents?
There is actually no minimum age for godparents, but the chosen person must be mature enough to understand the lifelong commitment and responsibility they are taking on. It’s a demanding role, but some quite young people do feel ready for this. The vicar taking your service can help you decide. So if you’re thinking of asking a person who is under 16 to be a godparent, first talk to the vicar who will be taking the service. You will be able to talk together about whether this is the right decision, both for your child and for the young godparent.
* Do godparents have to be baptised?
Yes, this is a basic requirement for a godparent because of the very special role they have in supporting a child’s faith journey.
* Do godparents have to be baptised in the Church of England?
They don’t have to be. People who have been baptised in the Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, United Reformed Church and other Christian denominations which subscribe to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, can also be godparents at a Church of England christening.
* Do godparents have to be confirmed?
Godparents have a really special role in supporting a child in their Christian faith. The preparation and promises made at a confirmation demonstrate a commitment to living a Christian life, a model for a child just beginning their own amazing journey of faith. For this reason, it is preferable that godparents are confirmed, but if three confirmed godparents simply can’t be found, the church’s own law allows for these circumstances. The best thing to do is speak to the vicar who will be doing the baptism for further advice.
* How many godparents should I have?
Three is the minimum. There should be at least two godparents who are the same sex as the child and at least one who is the opposite sex. The Church of England laws about this will have been agreed long ago with the best interests of a child at heart. But the laws also allow for the different circumstances of families, so if three really cannot be found, speak with the Guild Vicar.
* Can we change our godparents after a christening?
Godparents cannot be changed once a christening has taken place. They make big promises at a specific service, and their names will be recorded in the baptism register. Because of the lifelong commitment of parents and godparents at a christening, there can be no ‘re-christening’ once it has taken place. However if a family finds themselves without the support of their chosen godparents, for whatever reason, they are free to ask others in their life to take on a similar role unofficially.
* How much does a christening service cost?
The good news is that a christening service is free. There may be costs for your family party afterwards, for gifts, or for christening robes, but the church service is free. Fees are charged should you decide to add extras to the service (such as an organist) and there is usually a small charge should you want a duplicate certificate of baptism. If you would like to make a donation to the church, please speak to the Guild Vicar.
* Can anyone have a christening service?
Yes, so long as they have not been baptised already. The Church of England welcomes all babies, children and adults for christenings – whatever shape that family takes. You do not have to be married or have been a regular churchgoer – as a parent, you do not even have to have been baptised yourself – though you could be. Everyone is welcome.
* Why is a christening an ‘amazing journey’?
A christening marks the start of a lifetime of discovery about the Christian faith and how life-changing that can be. It’s a journey of surprises, challenges and adventure. And through it all, God is always with us.