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St John's Church Watford

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Baptisms - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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I am not a regular church attender - will you baptise my child?   [ top ]

Yes, we believe that God's love is available to all. If you wish to have your child baptised please do contact us.

How much will it cost?   [ top ]

Baptism is free.

In baptism, parents are thanking God for his gift of life and making a decision to start their child on the journey of faith and asking for the Church's support. We believe that God's love is available to all, regardless of their background. If you wish to have your child baptised please do contact us.

Who can get baptised at St John's?   [ top ]

If you live in the parish or are a regular attender at St John's church we will be delighted to welcome you for baptism.

Can I be baptised as an adult?   [ top ]

Yes, the Church of England baptises both children and adults. Usually adults seeking baptism are encouraged to explore a combined baptism and confirmation. Please contact Father David to discuss further.

In the Church of England a person can be baptised at any age, but only once. People who wish to repeat their baptismal promises can do so in the ceremony of Confirmation.

I was baptised by a different church do I need to be re-baptised?   [ top ]

The Church of England recognises all baptisms carried out in Christian churches that recognise the Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. If you join the Church of England from another Trinitarian church you do not need to be baptised again.

When do baptisms take place?   [ top ]

Generally baptisms takes place at our main Sunday service, because they are a public declaration that your child has become part of the church family. It is important that the church congregation is there to support you and welcome your child. If you would prefer a baptism service at a different time please contact Father David to discuss what might be possible.

What will happen at the baptism?   [ top ]

Your child's baptism will normally take place during the main Sunday service. This is so that your child can be seen to be joining the family of the Church and be welcomed into membership. In turn the Church will promise to support and pray for you and your child.

The priest will make sure you know where to sit and when you need to move. Some parts of the service will be for the whole congregation to join in, some will be for you and the godparents. Part of the baptism service will normally take place at the front of the church, but for the baptism itself, parents and godparents are usually asked by the priest to gather around the font at the back of the church. (The font is a large basin on a pedestal, containing the water for baptism.)

The priest will ask the parents and godparents to make declarations on behalf of the child.

What do the symbols and actions mean?   [ top ]

A number of important symbols and actions will be used during the service itself:

The sign of the cross - the priest will make the sign of the cross on your child's forehead. This is like an invisible badge to show that Christians are united with Christ and must not be ashamed to stand up for their faith in him.
The priest may also invite you and the godparents to sign the cross on the child's forehead after he has done so.

Water - the priest will pour water on your child's head. Water is a sign of washing and cleansing. In baptism it is a sign of being washed free from sin and beginning a new life with God.
Water is a sign of life, but also a symbol of death. When we are baptised, it is as though our old life is buried in the waters and we are raised to new life with Christ.

Anointing - after baptism in water, the priest will anoint him or her with oil. This is a sign of the outpouring of God's Holy Spirit.

The welcome - the church congregation will say some formal words of welcome to acknowledge that you child has joined the Church and to show how pleased they are to have you among them.

Candles - Jesus is the Light of the World. A large candle representing Christ will be lit in the church and you will also be given a lighted candle at the end of the service as a reminder of the light which has come into your child's life.

How many Godparents are required?   [ top ]

You should have at least three godparents: two of the same sex as the child and one of the opposite sex. Godparents can be family members or friends. However, it is important that you choose people who will take an interest in your child's spiritual welfare and who will pray for you and your child.

What is the role of a Godparent?   [ top ]

Godparents make the same promises on behalf of the child being baptised as parents. Godparents promise to pray and support the child and to help the parents to bring up the child in the Christian faith. It is an important and responsible role.

Being a godparent is a special role. It's about helping a child to come to know God, encouraging them in their spiritual life and supporting them in their membership of the local church.

Godparents will be expected to attend the child's baptism, where they will make promises to help to bring them up in the Christian faith.

Being a Godparent is a role that develops over time, as the godchild grows up and develops their own faith.

What promises are made?   [ top ]

When you bring your child for baptism, you will be asked to declare publicly on behalf of your child that you believe in God and that you will bring your child up to follow Jesus.

You will be asked to answer, on your child's behalf, that you have decided to turn away from everything which is evil or sinful and instead to turn towards Christ.

The declarations made by you and the child's godparents will be made in front of the church congregation; the local Christian community will promise to support you and pray for you and your child.

I have been christened - is this different to baptism?   [ top ]

No, Baptism is sometimes referred to as Christening; they are the same thing just with different names. The Church of England recognises all baptisms carried out in Christian churches that recognise the Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. If you join the Church of England from another Trinitarian church you do not need to be baptised again. If you are not sure about this, please feel free to contact Father David for advice.

Could we have a service of thanksgiving for a child?   [ top ]

Yes, the Church of England also offers a Service of Thanksgiving for the birth of a child. This service recognises the wonder of a new birth, includes prayers and readings and asks God's blessing on the child and its family. This service does not require the same commitments as Baptism, and leaves open the possibility of Baptism at a later stage.

Is it possible to have a party / gathering at church afterwards for our friends and family?   [ top ]

We have two parish rooms that are perfect for a small gathering of family and friends. If you would like to use these rooms there will be a small rental charge.






More information

If you would like more information about being baptised, or having your child baptised at St John's, then please speak to Fr David Stevenson.

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