Thanksgiving & Baptism

Babies and Baptism at St Paul’s with a word about Confirmation
Before ringing the vicar at home 723492 or at the church office 791164, or e-mailing him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), please take a moment to read the following:

I would like my baby christened
Wonderful!, but there are one or two things needing to be pointed out first:

1. Christening is the commonly used but wrong word for the time when a baby is brought to church with parents and godparents, and either immersed in water or drops of water splashed over the forehead.
2. Baptism* (or, in the case of babies and children, INFANT BAPTISM) is the correct term.There is much misunderstanding about baptism (you might have heard people say My baby won’t go to Heaven if he/she is not baptised or We’re not too worried ourselves but it’s the mother-in-law who keeps reminding us or We want to get him/her done, a bit like the triple injection at the Health Centre).
And that’s the reason we have developed a way forward at St Paul’s which we feel is a real help to parents/ grandparents understanding what’s involved in baptism, so, whatever service they choose, it’s a great event for them.
(It’s worth pointing out that the vicar didn’t make the baptism service up:  it’s the same service at every Church of England church in the land!).
The service of infant baptism assumes that the godparents and one (or preferably both) parents are practising Christians a practising Christian is a person who believes God is real (not just around on Sundays!), that Jesus is one of His names and wants to make a real difference in our lives, and that one of the most rewarding things in life is seeing Jesus Kingdom coming more and more on planet Earth.

So, how do we do infant baptisms at St Paul’s?

In 2 parts

We start with a Thanksgiving and Blessing service held ASAP on a Sunday at St Paul’s at 10:00am.  This is part of an All-Age service and suitable therefore for other children to come as well.

1. Some couples who are not yet sure about being part of a local church family are very happy just with this:  their baby is welcomed, they can thank God with their friends for the little miracle they are holding, they can have a family party afterwards.  All in all a wonderful way to mark publicly the birth of their baby.  They prefer not to go ahead at this stage with baptism because this would involve them saying things which at present they feel they could not say with integrity.
2. Many couples however do want to go on further than this (i.e. to have their child baptised):  they agree to some preparation, which involves seeing 3 videos/ DVDs at their home over the following month or two.  The ones we often show are 60 minute parent (an excellent talk about parenting by gifted communicator Rob Parsons), Glimpse of Eternity (an extraordinary story of an Australian diver stung, fatally, 5 times by a Box Jellyfish, who describes what he sees before coming alive again in the mortuary!), and The God who changes lives, the story of Manchester-born Paul Cowley who now heads up Alpha in Prisons.
3. After these 3 evenings, the vicar will visit to go through the baptism service and highlight the words spoken by the parents and godparents.

Well done if you’ve read this far:  you clearly want to know how we do things at St Paul’s!

At present we use the 5th Sunday in the month (there are 4 of these each year) for Thanksgivings and Infant Baptisms. 

Do get in touch now if you want to take things further or have any other questions:  the above is our preferred way of doing things but we try to keep flexible in the case of emergencies etc.

Answers to one or two other questions you may have:

*Baptism (as opposed to infant baptism) is for adults who have not been baptised before.  This is by immersion (going under the water symbolising our dying with Jesus, and coming up representing our new life in Jesus). We have a small (covered) pool at the church which we fill and heat for adult baptisms.  These take place as and when (normally on a Sunday evening).  As it involves several hundred gallons of heated water, we normally hold these when there are at least 4 people requesting baptism.
Renewal of baptismal vows - this involves the renewing by an adult of the promises made on their behalf when a child and is sometimes requested when a person feels their baptism as an infant was a purely social occasion and they received no Christian nurture as a baby.  Immersion in water is a part of this, as above with baptism.
Confirmation - a baptised baby obviously makes no profession of faith in Jesus and at their baptism we pray that he/she will do so later. This normally happens in teenage years, at a special service led by one of the bishops of the diocese.  So, confirmation is for teenagers baptised as babies as well as for adults recently baptised/ who have renewed their baptism vows.  Instead of water being involved here, the bishop prays individually for each candidate, laying his hands on their head and praying Come, Holy Spirit or More, Holy Spirit.

So, there you have it!  Do get in touch if you want to take things further or if you still have questions. Back to those contact details!  We’re really looking forward to meeting you. Parents who are not already members of St Paul’s but who want baptism at St Paul’s for their child should live in the parish of Penketh.  Unless they already do church on Mondays (i.e. mums & toddlers at The Oaks) or have some other regular link with St Pauls, the vicar will ask non-Penketh residents to contact first of all the vicar of the parish where they live.