Baptisms

How to Book a Baptism

If you live in the parish, you can be baptised in one of our churches.  If you do not live in the parish, it is still possible, but we ask that you worship with us at least three times before the baptism takes place.  To find out if you live in the parish, put your postcode into the Church of England's website parish finder here.

Please contact the parish office - 020 8470 0011 or easthamparish@gmail.com to make the initial booking. Do let us know the church in which you would like the baptism to take place.  Once the parish office has your details, a member of the clergy will be in contact with you and will visit to prepare you for the baptism.  You could also book by coming to a service at one of our churches and speaking to the priest at the end of the service.  Times of services are here.[insert link]

Links

You can find further information about the Church of England and baptism by following these links:

https://www.churchofengland.org/life-events/christenings

https://churchofenglandchristenings.org/for-parents/what-is-a-christening/

https://churchofenglandchristenings.org/stepbystep/

https://churchofenglandchristenings.org/for-parents/choosing-godparents/

https://churchofenglandchristenings.org/godparents/role-godparent/

What is Baptism?

God made us to be his friends.  We believe that people are most fulfilled and whole when they live as friends of God.  When someone is baptised, he or she shows publicly that they want to live as a friend of God and be a part of God’s new humanity.

Being a friend of God means knowing that God loves us and wants what is best for us.

It also means knowing that God loves all people, so in baptism, we promise also to seek the best for all our human sisters and brothers.

In baptism, we let go of old ways of behaving in which we only look after ourselves, and show we are willing to try to live in God’s way, which is one of compassion and generosity and fairness and mercy.

Jesus came to live with us to show us what God’s new people should be like and to show us God’s love and forgiveness.

God’s Holy Spirit is with us to help us live as God’s friends and to love God and our neighbour.

Baptism is sometimes called christening because a person becomes 'in Christ,' and a sign of this is that the person is given a Christian name.

What happens at the service?

First, we give thanks to God for the person who is being baptised.  We rejoice because he or she is made in the image of God.

Then, he or she is anointed on the forehead with olive oil that has been blessed by the bishop.  This is a sign that God’s Holy Spirit is always with us, helping and encouraging us to love God.

At the moment of baptism, water is poured on the head of the candidates three times, in the name of the Father, the Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit.  This is a symbolic drowning when he or she publicly turns from selfish ways of behaving.

The candidate then comes out of the water as a sign of the start of a new life as one of God’s people.

At the end of the service, the person who has just been baptised is given a lighted candle, a sign that Jesus, the Light of the World is with them, and that they too are asked to ‘shine as a light in the world.’  It is a way of encouraging the person to live for God and for others all through their life.

Parents and Godparents

You can be baptised at any age, but the Church of England is a church that offers baptism to babies and children.  A young child cannot yet promise for himself or herself to be a friend of God.  So, in the service,  the parents and godparents, make the promises for them.  Their role is to help their godchild to grow up knowing that God loves them, and will always love them, and also to help them, in turn, to learn to love God and serve other people.

The Church

Any task is easier if we do it with others.  The church is the place where God’s people gather to worship him, to give thanks, and to seek his will for their lives.

It is a model of God’s new humanity and should be marked by love and kindness and compassion and mercy and forgiveness.

Prayer:

O God our Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name,

bless those who are soon to be baptised into your new people. 

Bless the parents and godparents and help them to rejoice in your saving gospel;

to seek your help in keeping their promises;

to pray for their children and to teach them whatever is good, whatever is true, whatever is lovely,

so that they may all share in your gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.