A Christening, or baptism, is the beginning of your child’s journey of faith. We invite you to take these three initial steps with us.
We are delighted to know that you are thinking of having your child baptized in the near future. Baptism is a very important step for all who are involved: for you, and the godparents you may choose, in promising to bring up your child as a Christian, and for the Church, as a new member is welcomed into God’s family: a member who needs the support and encouragement of fellow Christians.
So we ask you to join with us in taking time to prepare carefully for this event. We invite you to discover more about baptism, to get to know your local church and meet some of the congregation here. Baptism Services are held on the first and third Sundays of each month at 3.00 pm. Please be aware that we are a very busy and popular church and that bookings for Baptism fill up quickly, especially in the Summer. You can check on availability by calling the Parish Office.
We are able to baptise children and adults from this parish and also those who have an association with St Mary’s Church (such as the child’s parents having been married here). If you do not live in the Parish you will need consent from your own priest to have a baptism service here. We will provide you with a form for your priest to sign. There is no charge for Baptism Services.
You can phone the Parish Office on 01384 441003 or send an e mail to check availability of dates. When you book a christening then we will either give you or send you a booking form. Please return the completed form to us within two weeks to confirm the booking. If we have not received the booking form back within two weeks then we will assume that you no longer wish to proceed with the booking.
THE FIRST STEP IS TO ATTEND A BAPTISM PREPARATION EVENING. These informal gatherings are held once a month, on a Wednesday at 7.30 pm. The clergy will be able to give you the exact date and venue for each meeting. If prospective godparents are able to attend, they, too, would be very welcome. The meeting will end by 8.30 pm and we would encourage you to find a babysitter if at all possible.
In the meeting you will meet one of the parish clergy. You will be able to find out more about the meaning of baptism and about the Christian faith. There will be information about St. Mary’s and especially about the activities for children and families, such as Sunday School and Worship Together. You will also be able to talk to other parents who are thinking about baptism. The meeting will explain how to go ahead with a baptism if you feel that this is the right step for you and your child.
THE SECOND STEP WOULD BE FOR YOU TO ATTEND A WORSHIP TOGETHER SERVICE AT ST MARY’S. These usually happen on the second Sunday of each month at 10.00 am. At this service, baptism families are specially welcome. Your child’s baptism will be mentioned in the prayers. You will meet the clergy and members of the congregation, be able to return forms and confirm your booking. We will be happy to answer any further questions you may have.
THE THIRD STEP HAPPENS AFTER THE CHRISTENING ITSELF. You will be invited to attend the next Worship Together Service. Here you child will be individually welcomed into the church family, and presented with a baptism card.
CHOOSING GODPARENTS It is traditional to have three godparents, but you can have more. You must choose at least one godfather and one godmother and all godparents need to have been baptised. Please remember that godparents are expected to make promises on behalf of the child and must therefore be mature enough to understand the responsibilities involved.
VESTRY HOUR—FOR BOOKING CHRISTENINGS, WEDDINGS ETC
Saturday mornings, 10.00am—11.00 am. You will be assured of a warm welcome. Tea and Coffee will be available.