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 https://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:
- 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.
- Helping them to learn more about their Christian faith, through their church and in other ways.
So a christening is a commitment to start as you mean to go on.
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.
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 or St Michael’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 parishes of Chipping and Whitewell;
- regularly and habitually attend worship at St Bartholomew’s, Chipping or St Michael’s Whitewell;
- have previously lived in the parishes of Chipping and Whitewell, or have a similar strong, historic, local family connection with either St Bartholomew’s or St Michael’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 https://churchofenglandchristenings.org/for-parents/contacting-the-church/
We were married at St Michael’s or St Bartholomew’s but we don’t live or worship in the parish. Can our baby be christened there?
Unfortunately having a wedding in one of our churches does not automatically create a strong, historic, local family connection. Similarly attending church for a limited period of time prior to your wedding cannot be described as regular, habitual attendance. However, even though we are not able to help you, your local church can. To find your local church visit https://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?
Phone or email Revd Fiona Jenkins to arrange an informal meeting. We can only discuss a child’s christening with the parents of the child and we normally meet with both parents together. The meeting is a chance to talk about your plans and consider what a christening might mean for you and your child.
If you then decide you want to go ahead and have your child christened you will be asked to attend Baptism Preparation where we explore the promises about faith which you will make in the service. The godparents are also encouraged to attend this as they are making the same promises on behalf of your child.