In baptism, parents thank God for his gift of life, make a decision to start the child on the journey of faith and ask for the Church's support. Confirmation marks the point in the Christian journey when you affirm the faith into which you were baptised. Click here to find out more about a Church of England Christening.
Please contact Reverend Pam Sellix on 01579 363464
Baptism or Christening
(which means Christian-making) is a happy event—the beginning of a lifelong journey with God and with this Church. Every parent wants the very best for their child, and this must include spiritual concerns. The Christian faith offers us the opportunity to root our lives in God, discovering our gifts, and finding happiness and a sense of belonging. All of us at Saltash Team Ministry will do all we can to support you during and after the baptism.
Baptism is a joyful experience, and we hope that you’ll feel welcomed by the church community, and that you will support it by coming to services and contributing to its upkeep. The main Sunday service is at 10.00 a.ma every week in both of our churches, and children are always welcome. A Sunday School meets for infant/junior school age children meets at 10.00 am an join the main service towards the end of the worship. At St Stephens on the first Sunday in the month at 10.00a.m. there is a family Holy Communion service at which the Music Group plays, the service s short and hopefully family friendly! No Sunday School that day.
“Can I have my baby christened at your church?”
If you live within the parish boundary of Saltash Team Ministry (within the parishes of St Stephens by Saltash, and SS. Nicholas and Faith) you and your family are entitled in law to be christened here, and we shall be pleased to make arrangements. If you live outside the parish, you and your family can be christened , but you will need to let your local vicar know that your child will be baptised. Once the baptism has been conducted here, we hope that you will consider the church here as your parish church.
Can I choose the date and time?
The clergy of the team look after several parishes, and have many commitments on a Sunday, so can't promise to do the baptism on the date that suits you best. Please have several options ready. Baptisms take place during the 10.00a.m Service when the congregation can welcome the child and family, or at 12.00 noon which is specifically a baptism service.
What is Baptism?
A time when we remember that as well as being a member of a human family your child is a part of God’s family too, the church family. In baptism your child is beginning a personal journey of faith, shared by other members of the Church.
A 'sacrament', which means it is a visible sign of God's love.
A reminder that we all need to turn away from ignorance and darkness to enlightenment and a new start with God.
A symbol of receiving the Holy Spirit, as Jesus did when he was baptised.
Should my child make the decision?
You don’t wait for a baby to decide what food he or she likes, you make the decision for the child. In a similar way, baptism signifies spiritual nourishment provided by parents. When the child is older, there’s the opportunity for them to choose to take another step on the journey and be Confirmed. Part of the baptism service is the promise of the Christian community around you to support you. You are not on your own.
Godparents need to have been baptised (but see below), so that they’re able to make the promises on behalf of the child sincerely. Parents should not feel pressured to choose the wrong people, but try to find people who can make the promises and mean them. The minimum is one godmother and one godfather. And if you can’t think of anyone suitable, you, the parents, can yourselves be the godparents. Three is the ideal number, four is possible, but more than 4 is not recommended for practical reasons.
What if I’m not baptised?
It's never too late!
The Baptism Service
During the service the congregation promises to support and pray for you and provide facilities for your child’s Christian upbringing - usually through Messy Church and Sunday School. Parents and Godparents are asked to stand and declare their own faith. It is important to make these promises sincerely: only you can truthfully know that. If you can’t, then maybe you’d prefer a service of Thanksgiving for the child and a naming ceremony. The choice is yours but please remember that baptism is an important and solemn occasion.
Parents and godparents will be asked these questions
Question 1: Do you turn to Christ? You will answer: I turn to Christ. This means: I want to change direction; I accept that my life needs guidance. I acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and I will try to follow his teaching day by day.
Question 2: Do you repent of your sins? You will answer: I repent of my sins. This means: I'm sorry about my past mistakes, and I know that I am accountable to God for my actions and thoughts. I can never be perfect, but as I acknowledge what is wrong, I am forgiven and accepted.
Question 3: Do you renounce evil? You will answer: I renounce evil. This means that I know that I sometimes have hard choices to make between good and evil. I want to choose wisely, turning away from evil and from now on trying always to choose the good.
The sign of the cross
The priest will make the sign of the cross on the forehead of the child using holy oil. This reminds us how Christ died for each one of us on the cross. It’s the badge of our faith to remind us that we must not be ashamed of our faith, and fight against all that is evil. As athletes often use oil to prepare for a contest, so this oil is a symbol of preparation and strength, and a different sort of oil may be used later in the service to signify the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Water washes away the old life, and cleans us ready for the new. Holy water refreshes the parts other water cannot reach! As we cannot live without water, so this sign reminds us that we need the cleansing and renewing presence of God in our lives.
Naming of a child
You will be asked what name(s) you have chosen for your child. The minister takes the child and says: ‘N, I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
At the end of the baptism the congregation welcomes the newly baptised into the family of God; both the local Christian community and the Church of God across the world.
Following the baptism a candle lit from the Paschal (Easter) Candle is given to one of the godparents. This candle signifies Christ the light of the world. As Christians we are to shine as lights in the world to help others see more clearly.
A permanent record of the baptism with family details is recorded in the official registers of the church. A Baptism card is given to parents.
There is no charge, but we ask for a donation. There is a plate by the church door to receive your donation towards the continuing work of the church (we receive no state aid). Completed Gift Aid envelopes, if you pay tax, will enable the church to reclaim tax at no extra cost to you.
Baptism is a sign of entering the Church, and so traditionally the font that holds the water is found near the church door.
Service of Thanksgiving for a Child
If you’d like to thank God for the gift of a child, but don’t feel ready for baptism, you might like to consider a service of Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child. In this service your child is blessed, but you don’t make the same promises as the Baptism service. You can always have a Baptism service later.