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Christening

"‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'"

(Acts 2:38)

 

A Christening, also known as Baptism, is the start of an amazing journey of faith for your child and a special day for all your family and friends to celebrate. Anyone can get in touch with us to ask about a christening service, for you or your child. It is the start of an amazing journey of faith and a special day for all your friends and family.

Christenings normally take place on the 1st Sunday of every month at 11:30am or 12:30am.

If you are thinking of having your child Christened then we would love to hear from you! Do please complete the application form below and we will be in touch. If you have any questions check out our FAQ's section at the bottom of this page.

 

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FAQ's


 
Do parents have to be christened?

You can have your child baptized at a christening regardless of whether or not you, the parents, are baptized.

It is only the godparents who are required to be baptized, (so the only time a parent would have to be baptized is if they were also acting as a godparent).

 

Is a baptism different to a christening?

There is no difference between a christening service and a baptism service.

Some churches will use the word ‘baptism’ and some the word ‘christening’. The moment when your child has water poured or wiped on their head is the actual baptism and is at the heart of the service.

Babies are baptized during a christening service just as couples are ‘married’ during a ‘wedding’ service.

 

Can anyone have a christening service?

The Church of England welcomes all babies, children and families for christenings – whatever shape that family takes.

You do not have to be married or have been a regular churchgoer – as a parent, you do not even have to have been baptized yourself – though you could be.

Everyone is welcome at their local church. Just ask your local vicar if this is something you are considering for your child.

 

What if I’m not really a churchgoer?

Because of the very special role of a godparent, you have to be christened yourself and ideally confirmed too.

If you feel you can make those big promises in church on behalf of your godchild, you’re ready. Take a look at the service to see those promises.

 

At what age should a child be christened?

There’s no specified minimum or maximum age for having a child christened.

When a child is christened, the parents and godparents will make promises on their behalf. Older children (perhaps around the age of 12) may be mature enough to make the promises for themselves.

Talk to the Rector about baptizing an older child and how this might differ from a baby’s christening service.

 

Where can we hold the christening?

You can have your baby christened at your local parish church. So if you live in the Parish it's not a problem. If you’d like to have the christening at our church but don't live in the parish, for example, where you grew up or where you were married, talk to the Rector as it's usually not a problem.

Unless there are very exceptional circumstances, a christening must always take place in a church, so it’s usually not possible to have a christening at home, in a function room or outdoors.

 

How much does a christening service cost?

The good news is that a christening service is free.

 

Can we have a private christening?

Sadly due to the numbers requesting to be christened at our Church we cannot offer private Christenings unless there is a pastoral need.

 

Is there a minimum age for godparents?

If you’re thinking of asking a person who is under 18 to be a godparent, first talk to the Rector. You will be able to talk together about whether this is the right decision, both for your child and for the young godparent.

There is actually no minimum age for godparents, but the chosen person must be mature enough to understand the commitment and responsibility they are taking on.

It’s a demanding role, but some quite young people do feel ready for these responsibilities.

 

Do godparents have to be confirmed?

Godparents have a really special role in supporting a child in their Christian faith. The preparation and promises made at a confirmation demonstrate a commitment to living a Christian life, a model for a child just beginning their own amazing journey of faith.

For this reason, it is preferable that godparents are confirmed, but if three confirmed godparents simply can’t be found, then the church’s own law allows for godparents to at a minimum be baptised.

 

Is it possible to have godparents by proxy?

Godparents are really important people at a christening. A person can only be an official godparent if they are physically present at the service, since they will make some big promises for and on behalf of the child on the day.

As they are already making promises on behalf of the child, to have another person making promises on their behalf confuses who is making promises on behalf of who! So there is actually no provision in the Church of England for ‘godparents by proxy’.

However, if a special person who you wanted to be a godparent is unable to make it to a christening, there is no reason why they can’t be asked to take on a godparent-like role unofficially, and that kind of relationship can be encouraged throughout the child’s life, but they wouldn’t be entered into the Baptism Register after the christening. If the church has the facilities, they could perhaps be linked via Skype or similar software, so they can still see the service.

 

Can parents be godparents?

To ensure a child will have three godparents, it is possible for one or both of the parents to be godparents, so long as they are christened themselves.

If both parents are godparents, then just one additional godparent will be required for the service to make up the minimum of three.

If you’re struggling to find godparents, talk to your vicar who would be pleased to advise.

 

Can we change our godparents after a christening?

Godparents make big promises at a christening, and their names will be permanently recorded in the church’s Baptism Register.

Because of the lifelong commitment of parents and godparents at a christening, there can be no ‘re-christening’ once it has taken place, and there’s no official way to change the godparents.

However, if a family finds themselves without the support of their chosen godparents, for whatever reason, they are free to ask others in their life to take on a similar role unofficially. It may also be helpful to talk to the Rector.

 

Do we have to have three godparents?

There should be at least three godparents at a christening – two who are the same sex as the child and one who is the opposite sex.

The Church of England laws about this were agreed long ago with the best interests of a child at heart.

Both parents may be godparents for their own children, providing they are baptized themselves and providing they have at least one other godparent. Talk to the Rector if you’re struggling to find three godparents and they’d be pleased to advise you.

 

How many godparents can I have?

Every child should have at least three godparents, two of the same sex and at least one of the opposite sex to your child. Although there is no official maximum number of godparents, three or four is usual. If you’d like more than that, talk to the Rector.

 

Do godparents have to be baptized?

Godparents are really important people at a christening. They will make some big promises in church to support their godchild in their Christian faith for a lifetime.

For this reason, a godparent must be baptized themselves and ideally confirmed too.

Visit the pages below and right to find out more about why godparents are so special.

 

Do godparents have to be baptized in the Church of England?

It is a basic requirement that godparents should be baptized themselves, and ideally confirmed too, but that doesn’t necessarily mean their baptism/confirmation should have been in the Church of England.

People who have been baptized in the Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, United Reformed Church and other Christian denominations, can also be godparents at a Church of England christening.

 

Are godparents also legal guardians?

Godparents are not the people who will care for the child should anything happen to the parents.

Arrangements for this would normally be made by a Will.

 

How do I find out if I am christened?

Every christening is recorded in the Baptism Register of the church where it took place.

Many christenings take place during infancy and often in the local church of the child. So a good place to begin searching for a baptism record is at the local parish church where you, (or the person whose record you’re looking for), lived as an infant. Try finding this church by searching on A Church Near You. If you know the postcode of where you or the person lived, enter that into the search box and that should give you a more accurate result. The local church will be highlighted in red.

Click on the church’s name to see more details. The vicar or church office details should be given under the ‘contact us’ tab of each individual church.

Once you’re in touch with the church, you can ask them to do a search in their Baptism Register to try and find your baptism record. Provide as much information as you can, including the year the christening took place, if you know it. There is a statutory charge for a search in the Registers. If a record is found, an official copy can be made for which there is also a charge.

 

How can I be involved in a christening?

Just being present at the service shows that you support the child and their family in the choice they have made.

As part of the service, everyone will be asked to promise to continue supporting the child on their journey of faith. A wonderful way to do this is to keep praying for the child and their family. 

You may also wish to give the child a christening gift.

 

Is there a requirement to attend a preparation session?

Yes, this will vary depending on whether the christening is for a child or an adult.

Parents seeking to baptise a child are required to attend a preparation day to ensure they can answer the questions during the service with integrity. To achieve this we invite people to an evening where we go through the questions.

Adults or teenagers seeking to be baptised are required to attend several days of preparation and are expected to be confirmed either at the same time as the baptism or soon after. This is because teenagers and adults looking to be baptised are committing to joining the worshipping life of the Church. Therefore the preparation is more extensive.

 

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