Frequently asked questions about baptism

  1. Is Baptism the same as Christening?
    • Yes. The word ‘Christen’ means to admit some one as a Christian in baptism. Traditionally people tend to associate Christening with the baptism of infants.
  2. We don’t live in the parish where we would like our child baptised. Is it possible for our child to be baptised in a church of our asking?
    • Your local church is ideally situated for the baptism of your children. But there may be strong family associations with another church in another parish. You should seek the permission of your local Vicar/Rector before approaching another parish.
  3. Do we have to attend church?
    • Many of the promises and undertakings made by parents and Godparents at Baptism imply that you take seriously the promises you are making. It is important, therefore, to feel part of the local Christian community into which your child is being baptised. Your Vicar/Rector may require some indication of that commitment and you should speak to him/her. Most parishes warmly welcome those who come with children to be baptised and are pledged to providing support in nurturing children in the Christian Faith.
  4. Is there any charge for Baptism?
    • There are no fees for Baptism. However, families often want to make a gift as a token of their thanksgiving and appreciation.
  5. Who should we choose as Godparents for our child?
    • Most people have very special family or friends who they feel will serve well as Godparents. The Church requires that Godparents should be baptised Christians, and where possible, confirmed Church members. Once again, the promises imply that parents and Godparents are themselves baptised. Sometimes parents have not already been baptised. This may well prove a time for great thought and consideration in the life of a family. Please speak to the local clergy or members of the congregation who will want to support and encourage you. Adults seeking baptism would normally be prepared for confirmation at the same time.
  6. There isn’t anyone we can think of who could act as Godparents? Can you help?
    • The local congregation will be happy to suggest Godparents from the Christian Community who will endeavour to stand by your child in their Christian life.
  7. When should the Baptism take place?
    • It is important that Baptism takes place after preparation and good planning. Baptism should be within the context of public worship so as to express that nature of belonging within the Christian Family. This may be at the Parish Eucharist or at a monthly public service of Baptism to which members of the community are invited.
  8. I am a single parent and am anxious for my child to be baptized. However, I am concerned about the involvement in a public service.
    • Your local clergy will be very sensitive to your enquiry and will do all that they are able to assist, welcome and encourage you.
  9. My parents didn’t have me baptised as a child. But now I would like to be baptised, even though I don’t attend Church. What should I do?
    • Please speak with your Parish priest who will advise you. He or she will be understanding and will do his/her best to help you.
  10. We want to express our thanksgiving to God in the birth of our child, but we feel that he/she should decide for themselves at a later stage whether or not they should be baptised. Can the Church help us?
    • The Church is happy to welcome you and your child/children at a service of thanksgiving for their life. This, too, can take place in the context of public parish worship. It can be a celebration of their life and of your family love. However, it must be made clear that it does not convey the Christian membership and life long commitment which takes place in the waters of Baptism.
  11. At what age should my child be confirmed?
    • The lower age for confirmation is decided upon by the Bishop of the Diocese. However, more and more tend to come to Confirmation at a later, rather than earlier stage. An increasing number of parishes provide for the admission of children to Holy Communion before Confirmation, after proper preparation, You will need to enquire with your Vicar/Rector. Confirmation at a later stage often expresses a greater commitment on the part of the individual to Christ.
  12. I would like to give a Christening gift. Is there anything appropriate I should consider?
    • Many Churches have good bookstalls and gift-stalls where you might like to choose a book, or a Bible. There are compilations of prayers for children, stories from the Bible, crosses, crucifixes, and attractive posters, mobiles, amongst many other items. Please ensure that such a gift is followed up with encouragement in the new Christian life of the child. If you want to know where to look for gifts and material please speak with the local clergy.
  13. The birth of our child has transformed our lives. We feel we would like to pursue a closer life to Christ. Can we make a greater commitment at this time?
    • The Baptism of your child provides a wonderful opportunity for you to make a commitment and promise both for him/her and for yourselves. Please speak with your Vicar/Rector who will be pleased to help and assist you.