Thinking about Baptism? CONGRATULATIONS!
Baptism, or 'Christening' as it is sometimes called, marks the start of a journey with God which continues for the rest of our lives and is a public demonstration of our personal faith in Jesus Christ and Christian commitment. Jesus was baptised in the River Jordan at the start of his ministry, and ever since Christians have baptised new believers as the sign of their own commitment to personal Christian discipleship.
The symbolism is powerful, for in baptism we publicly identify ourselves with Christ just as he identified himself with us when he died upon the cross. For his death was the price paid for our sin (all the things that we do wrong which harm our lives and alienate us from God) and so when we with faith, trust and repentance acknowledge him to be our Lord and Saviour, then God grants us a new life with sins forgiven. Baptism is therefore a symbolic and religious act which recognises that just as water washes away the dirt from our bodies, Christ’s death upon the cross ‘washes away’ our sin, guilt and shame, allowing us to stand before God, now and for always as much loved children, renewed, restored and forgiven, which has an eternal dimension as proved by Christ’s own death and subsequent resurrection.
After baptism, the person baptised is greeted by the members of the local Christian congregation, and welcomed into their fellowship. So an individual is always baptised into a local Christian congregation, but also into the world-wide fellowship of Christians which we call the Church.
Baptising Children and Infants
From the earliest times, Christians have baptised whole families, including children. Clearly, infants cannot make a personal commitment to Christian discipleship, so the Christian parents or parent, helped by 'Sponsors', or 'Godparents', make the promises on their behalf.
The Parents and Godparents promise to bring the Child up in a Christian home, to take part in Christian worship on a regular basis and nurture it’s Christian faith and understanding, so that when the child is old enough, he or she might have the opportunity to be brought before a Bishop and publicly 'Confirm' the promises of personal Christian commitment that were made on his or her behalf at baptism.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
If you wish to take things further.... things you need to know!
Baptisms should normally take place in the parish where the person being baptised lives. Adults seeking baptism, or parents seeking baptism for their children, should make direct contact with Stephen (our Rector) who will be pleased to help you. Please note that as baptism is an act of public affirmation of faith and welcome into the church, it is usual for all baptisms to take place within a normal morning service. Please note that as Stephen has four parish churches to look after, a suitable date has to be reached by agreement with him and according to availability.
What must I do now?
The Revd Stephen Thorp
The Rectory, School Road, Necton, Norfolk. PE37 8HT
Tel: 01760 722021
Stephen is Rector of fourParish churches.
All Saints Necton; St. Andrew’s Holme Hale; St. Andrew’s North Pickenham & All Saints South Pickenham.
As baptism marks not only one’s Christian faith but entry into the Church, it’s would be delightful if you could come along and meet us and give us a chance to warmly welcome you. If you are a parent seeking to have your child baptised try coming along to one of our many children friendly services such as MESSY CHURCH or ALIVE@10. You can be sure of a warm welcome and usually a lot of fun.
And finally a prayer ...
Lord Jesus Christ,
as we prepare for baptism,
teach us that new life does not begin in the distant future
but here and now,
so help us to receive your gracious gift
and express our faith
with joy and thanksgiving.