Baptism is an ancient sacrament, in which the outward and physical symbol of water is used to reflect an important moment in someone's inward spiritual life. That moment has been described and understood in different ways throughout history - as a moment of figuratively passing from the 'death' of existence without God to the fulness of life that comes from living with Him; as a moment of 'illumination', in which one moves from a state of darkness and ignorance to light and understanding (think of the related word, 'enlightenment'); or as a moment of cleansing from sin and evil into the cleanliness of the purity of God. You will hear echoes of all these ideas in the texts used during a baptism service (sometimes called a Christening). However it is understood, baptism has always been used to mark and demonstrate two things:
- the commitment of an individual to a personal spiritual life, following in the ways, teachings, and example of Jesus;
This is a serious commitment, not to be taken lightly, and an agreement entered into with God himself. If it is lived out, it is the way to living life to the full - and embracing your truest identity as a beloved child of God. In baptism God is invited to the life of the baptised, and his Spirit is poured out upon them.
- and an entering into the corporate spiritual life of the worship and community of his church.
Also a serious commitment! Whilst it is possible to live as a Christian without attending church, it is a much harder thing to try and do. In baptism, the commitment is both ways - from the baptised to take their part in the life of the church, and from the church to do whatever they can to support the person being baptised throughout their life.
Because of what baptism is, it is important to us that, when possible, baptisms take place within the main Sunday morning services. We do, however, also recognise the difficulties that can be encountered when trying to get an extended family together to share in such a celebration, and in exceptional circumstances will consider providing an additional Sunday afternoon service.
We are happy to baptise both children and adults. If you have any questions, or are looking to arrange a baptism, please contact us or talk to Paul, our Vicar.
If you are looking to celebrate a new baby's life, but do not feel ready to make a full commitment to the Christian faith, you may want to consider a Service of Thanksgiving instead.