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Baptisms

At St Bartholomew's Church, we are delighted to welcome families for baptism who either  live in Westhoughton, or who have a strong connection with one of our churches.  Most of our baptisms take place at St Bartholomew's parish church but we are equally pleased to conduct baptisms at St Thomas's and St George's

Baptisms always take place on Sundays and you will be informed of the available dates and times whe you get in touch with us.

What is baptism? ... a Christening... a party ... getting the baby done...or much, much more?

Some questions...

 

DOESN’T THE LAW SAY THE BABY MUST BE  BAPTISED?

No!  Children are properly and legally named when their birth is registered.

 

“....BUT WE’VE BEEN TOLD THAT S/HE MUST BE ‘DONE’...”

                             That may be so but it is YOU, the parents who will have to make the promises.  The decision to have the baptism and  to make important promises must be YOURS - whatever anyone else wants

 

“...BAPTISM MAKES THEM COME ON BETTER  DOESN’T IT...?”

There is nothing in the Baptism Service which says, or even suggests that this is true.  Baptism won’t turn your baby into a little angel!  It isn’t like an inoculation or insurance payment - it doesn’t ensure the baby will be better in any way.

 

“...BUT AT LEAST IF S/HE IS BAPTISED S/HE WILL HAVE     A GOOD START IN LIFE.......”

Yes baptism is a good start, but a good start is no good unless it is followed through.  In baptism, parents and godparents are required to make definite statements of Christian commitment.  In the service, they promise on the child’s behalf to turn from evil and to follow Jesus Christ.  Unless these promises are followed through, baptism has little meaning.

 

SO WHAT IS BAPTISM REALLY ABOUT?

Here are some words we sometimes use in the Baptism Service that may help answer this question:

We have brought these children to baptism knowing that Jesus died and rose again for them and trusting in the promise that God hears and answers prayer. We have prayed that in Jesus Christ they will know the forgiveness of their sins and new life of the Spirit.

As they grow up, they will need help and encouragement of the Christian community, so that they may learn to know God in public worship and private prayer, follow Jesus Christ in the life of faith, serve their neighbour after the example of Christ, and in due course come to confirmation.

  As part of the Church of Christ, we all have a duty to support them by prayer, example and teaching. As their parents and godparents, you have the prime responsibility for guiding and helping them in their early years. This is a demanding task for which you will need the help and grace of God.

In other words, in baptism we celebrate the fact that God loves your child and has a place for your child in his church.  At the same time, because s/he is too young to make any commitments, parents and godparents speak in his/her place.

These are not easy promises to make, nor are they just empty words.  It’s worth remembering that just as you wouldn’t dream of neglecting your child’s physical needs - food, clothing etc. - so you shouldn’t dream of neglecting his/her spiritual needs either.

SO WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.....??

After you have  been to see us, we will offer you a date for baptism.  About a month before the baptism is to take place, we will contact you and invite you to a baptism preparation evening (usually Wednesdays 6.45pm – 7.15pm) to talk about what will happen in the baptism service and to meet other families  whose children will be baptised at the same service.    Godparents  are also welcome and encouraged to come to the baptism preparation evening. 

ONE OR TWO THINGS TO REMEMBER……

  • Baptisms take place on Sundays on set dates in the  year, usually at 2.00pm.  Please DO NOT make any arrangements with families and friends or for parties until we have agreed a date with you.
  • We normally have  three families  at any baptism service and, because space is limited in church, we ask you to limit the  number of guests  at the  service to no more than 70.
  • Photography and video recording are not permitted under any circumstances during services.  However, it is possible to take photographs and/or video once the service has finished.
  • Godparents [usually 2 of the same sex as the child and 1 of the opposite sex] make exactly the same promises as parents. All Godparents must have been baptised in the Church of England or another Christian Church It is important to think carefully about whom you ask.  To ask someone to be a godparent just because they are a relative, close friend or have been a bridesmaid may not be the best reason for choosing them.  Godparents have a responsibility to PRAY for your child and to encourage him/her to find out more about the Christian faith.  Godparents have no legal responsibilities for your child.   Please feel free to  talk to the  rector  if you would like  advice about choosing godparents.
  • Please note that your child being baptised   DOES NOT influence any application you may make for any of our church primary schools or for local church secondary school.
  • There is no charge for baptism though you may wish to make a donation to church after the service.

 

For more information, have a look at                                                  

Churchofenglandchristenings.org