What is a Christening?
A christening marks your child’s formal welcome into the church and is the start of an amazing journey with God, parents, godparents, family, friends and the church. It begins a lifetime of discovering more about love, faith and hope. At a christening your child will be baptized with water and therefore the service is also known as Holy Baptism.
This page focuses on christening services for young children though some of the information is also relevant to adults and teenagers who are considering baptism for themselves. To find out more about being baptised as an adult or teenager please contact Revd Fiona Jenkins. To find out more about Church of England Christenings in general visit churchofenglandchristenings.org
What will a christening mean for me and my child?
Your child is precious to you and precious to God. You want the very best for them, and so does God. You want them to make right choices in life, for themselves and for others. A christening is just the beginning of this and so much more. Over the years to come, it’s a journey you’ll share together with your child by:
- Helping them to learn more about their Christian faith, through their church and in other ways.
- Being there for your child to talk to about the bigger questions of life – questions about hope, faith and love.
- Praying for your child through the ups and downs of their faith journey.
- Showing them practically how to make those good choices in life.
You will need to give some thought as to how to follow up the baptism of your child. Rest assured we welcome lively children and we seek to cater for the needs of babies, children and parents in our worship and in the facilities we offer both at St Bart's and at Messy Church.
If your child is too young to speak for themselves, you and the godparents will make some serious promises about faith and support for the child throughout their life. If you yourself are being baptized you will make these promises for yourself. What you are doing is making vows (as people do when they get married). While some people can say these with confidence, others find it is something they can only say tentatively. Either is okay. What matters is that you know in your own heart that the promises reflect your intentions.
Some people need time to think through these promises, for others it raises issues which gets them thinking about their own faith and beliefs more seriously. If you have questions or find the wording rather strange, don’t worry, we can discuss this with you.
Some parents want to give their child the freedom to make their own baptism promises when they are old enough to decide for themselves. If you would like to give your child this opportunity you could consider having Thanksgiving service instead of a christening.
Can I have a christening at St Bartholomew’s?
In the christening service you declare your decision to follow Christ and become part of his Church. For this reason christenings normally take place in your local church so that your church family is close by.
We welcome christening enquiries from people who :
- live in the parish of Chipping;
- regularly worship at St Bartholomew’s, Chipping;
- have previously lived in the parish of Chipping, or have a similar strong, local family connection with St Bartholomew’s. Please bear in mind you will need to obtain the goodwill of the Church of England Vicar where you live before any firm arrangements can be made
Even if we are not able to help you, your local church can. To find your local church visit churchofenglandchristenings.org/for-parents/contacting-the-church/
When do christenings happen?
Christenings normally take place in the main Sunday morning service when the church family gathers for worship. Find out more about our Sunday services here.
Choosing the right people as godparents for your child is a big decision. Here are some key things which might help you decide:
- Because of the very special role they have in supporting your child’s faith journey, godparents must be baptized themselves. Ideally they will also have been confirmed.
- Godparents should feel ready to make some big promises about faith for your child in church.
- Every child should have at least three godparents, two of the same sex and at least one of the opposite sex to your child. You can have more than three godparents if you wish.
- Godparents will be people who you know you can trust and who’ll be there for your child to talk about the bigger questions in life; questions about faith, hope and love.
How do I arrange a christening?
The first step is simply to attend a church service on a Sunday morning at 10.45am. The Family Service on the 4th Sunday of the month tends to be the most noisy and informal gathering, but children are welcome at any of our services. Have a word with the Vicar after the service and we will take it from there.