What is baptism?
Baptism is an outward sign of belonging to Jesus and the Christian church. It is a simple ceremony of washing in water, practiced by Christians since the time of Jesus. It is a sign of turning to God, and of faith in Jesus our Lord. At the same time, baptism symbolizes Jesus’ own death and resurrection. Those who ask for baptism recognise that their standing with God depends on what Jesus did for them by his dying and rising again.
What is necessary for an effective baptism?
From one point of view, baptism represents what God does for us – he gives us a new birth by his Holy Spirit. This is what we pray for when we are baptised. The one essential thing on the part of the person being baptised is sincere faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the case of an infant, this response of faith must be made in the name of the child by sponsors (parents and godparents) until such time as the child can make his or her own response.
Who may be godparents?
Godparents are members of the church who have themselves been baptised and have confirmed their faith. They are usually friends or relatives close to the family who are interested in the child’s spiritual nurture. Godparents should be able to answer ‘Yes’ to the following two questions:
– Are you yourself a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ and a member of his church, sincerely believing the promises of God?
– Are you willing to sponsor this child, answering for him/her now, and accepting responsibility for his/her Christian upbringing?
The duties of godparents
Those who act as godparents are accepting the responsibility, with parents, of providing encouragement, teaching and a good example so that children may be brought up to follow Jesus and become faithful members of the church.
What is promised in baptism?
Three promises are made by all candidates for baptism, and these are also the undertakings made by parents and godparents when the candidate is a child:
– A renunciation of ‘the world, the flesh, and the devil’ which means a rejection of all that is opposed to the will of God.
– A belief in God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, which means trust in God as the one who made us, in Jesus as the one who saves us, and in the Holy Spirit who makes us like Jesus.
– A firm intention to obey God and follow his leading in our lives.
When does baptism take place?
Baptisms at St Mark’s are usually held on the fourth Sunday of the month at one of the main Sunday morning services (8.45am and 10.30am)
Baptism is not just a naming ceremony; it can be a most meaningful occasion for establishing yourselves, your home and family in a right relationship with God. You may have been out of touch with the church; or you may wish to ask about baptism or confirmation for yourself. Do not hesitate to contact me to discuss any questions you may have.
How much does it cost?
There is no charge for baptism. If you wish to make a thank offering, either through the normal offertory or in some other way, you are free to do so.
Being part of the church community
We have an expectation that those bringing children to baptism will make an effort to become part of the church worshipping community.
To help you keep the promises you will make (about following Jesus and bringing your child to church) we seek to make it easier for you with the variety of Sunday services we hold.
There is the 8.45am Anglican Prayer book service, the 10.30am Family Worship with Children’s groups and (on 4th Sundays during term time) 4pm Messy Church.