Congratulations, you have a new baby and are considering having him or her Baptised (Christened); or as an adult you may have decided that you want to affirm in public your commitment to Jesus Christ and His church.

Baptism is a sacrament instituted by Jesus himself that has its roots in the Jewish tradition of ritual cleansing and was offered by John the Baptist as a sign of repentance and new life. Jesus himself, although he was sinless, submitted to baptism by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. The word itself comes from a Greek word meaning washing, and while Jesus was immersed in the River Jordan, today more commonly the ceremony involves sprinkling with water but not total immersion, although this is a possibility that can still be offered if a Baptismal pool exists. Some Church of England Churches have even made use of swimming pools or rivers for Baptism Services.

Christian Baptism is in the name of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and most commonly the Minister, the Vicar, will sprinkle water, contained in the font, on the forehead of the child or adult three times as the words are said, although it's still Baptism if the water is only sprinkled only once! During the service a lighted candle is given to a parent or Godparent of a child being baptised. Jesus said that as He is the Light of the world so we are to shine as lights in the darkness of this world.

Most Baptism services for babies and small children take place during Morning Prayer or Worship for All Services, as the hope and expectation is to have members of the church family present to welcome them into the Christian family and into the life of the church. The service takes place around the font near the main entrance and  the congregation turns around to share in the service and to welcome a new family member. But Baptism isn't only for babies and children! Some people come to faith in Jesus Christ later in life,  and having decided to follow Jesus, are baptised according to the practices of the Church of England. For adults, after a period of preparation, it is usually preferable for them to be baptised and confirmed in one combined service at which a Bishop is present.

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Page last updated: Friday 6th January 2017 5:46 PM
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