It is great that you are interested in having your child christened!
Christening is an important decision for you and your child. It is something exciting. You are making a commitment that you want your child to be part of God’s family and part of a church family. And that you hope that your child will grow up and learn the great stories about Jesus and the good things he has done for you and me.
A Christening is another name for baptism.
There are different parts in the service which helps us understand what baptism is all about
As parents and godparents you will make some important promises during the service – that you will care for your child, pray for them, help them become part of a local church, and show them how to be a Christian. The Church wants to help you fulfil these promises…
Christening has always been about Jesus – people who were baptised were saying they wanted to follow Jesus. As a parent or godparent, you will be saying that you too, want to turn from all that is bad and wrong, and turn to Jesus and make him number one in your life and to follow him.
For Christians, the cross reminds us of Jesus, and his death for each of us, a death that brings life and hope. We’ll make the sign of a cross on your child’s forehead and you’ll be able do this also.
And the Baptism…
The water bit! The minister will say: “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” A special moment for you and the family. Your child joins a worldwide family – over 2 billion people who are part of a Church.
Questions people often ask…
Godparents? How many can I have?
For each child, no more than 4 godparents, but you can have less than four. Normally it is 2 godfathers and one godmother if the child is a boy; and two godmothers and one godmother if the baby is a girl. But at times it can be hard to know the suitable people – but no more than four godparents in total.
Godparents? Do they need to be christened themselves?
Yes – you cannot be a godparents unless you were baptised or christened. You don’t need to have been christened Church of England, you could be christened Methodist, Roman Catholic, Baptist, it doesn’t matter as long as it was a Christian Church.
What if a parent hasn’t been christened?
That is fine. Parents do not need to be christened. Only the godparents.
How do we book?
Easy! Come along to one of our Sunday services at 11.15 am, and speak to one of the people who welcomed you, that you’d like to book a baptism. They will point you to the right person – the lady who handles the christening bookings is Mrs Carol Stanley and she can answer all queries and give you the baptism pack for you to fill in the forms. She cannot take bookings over the phone: couples need to come to an 11.15 am Sunday service to book.
She will explain:
* we ask couples to attend three baptism preparation sessions on Thursday evenings or one all-day, Messy Church style preparation session on a Saturday. After a couple has attended the preparation, it is possible to book a baptism date.
* we also ask couples, after they have done the baptism preparation to attend three Sunday morning 11.15 am services.
The next Baptism Matters event will be announced.
At St Leonard’s we do have a lot of christenings, so we recommend that as soon as you have completed the baptism preparation evenings, to contact Carol again so you can have a date booked in the diary. If you wait until you have all the godparents agreed, it is possible that another family may have contacted us and that date is no longer available.
Also, even if you are thinking of a christening later in the year, it is best to come along, to attend the baptism preparation evenings, and then get it booked even if it ages away. The danger could be, if you contacted us only a couple of months before your ideal month, maybe we won’t have any spaces left…
At our baptism services, we invite two families for each christening service. St Leonard’s isn’t large enough to take more families.
Baptisms are held on only one Sunday of the month, usually on the third Sunday and in the afternoon. However, occasionally it is not possible to offer a date every month to a family because of other church celebrations, but we will try our best.
If you are an adult seeking baptism, you need to speak to the member of the clergy about it. The vicar for St Leonard’s Church is also the Rector, Rev. Tim Storey.
The reason for this consultation is that when an adult seeks baptism, this means they are making the promises for themselves and are promising before their friends, their family and God that they will come to church and explore their faith. These are weighty promises that need to be thought about and taken seriously.
And, does it cost anything?
No, we often are asked this. No, there is no fee.
Is that all?
Well, yes. A good idea, is to come along to one of our other baptisms, so you can see what we do and how we run this enjoyable service. The way we do it may be different from other churches! Also, if your godparents have never been to St Leonard’s before, bring them along with you on a Sunday near the christening. It will make them feel less nervous and we can talk to them about where they would be standing etc…
Normally someone from the Church will be in contact with you to arrange a time for us to meet and to chat about the service. They will contact you nearer the date of your child’s christening…It is helpful to have the godparents there for that meeting to help them prepare for the special day and their special role in your child’s life.
Because the vows which parents and godparents make are really important, we believe it can only help attending church to give you the tools you need to help nurture that faith in your child. It doesn’t and shouldn’t rely only on you to help your child understand things about Jesus and God. Through church people they will grow spiritually, learn, and have others around them that they can discuss questions with. It’s a good place to help you fulfil your vows.
So, we look forward to meeting you and your family on this special day!