When you bring a child for baptism or decide to be baptised yourself, you are thanking God for His gift of life, deciding to start your child or yourself on the journey of faith and asking for the church’s support.
Baptism marks the start of a journey of faith, which involves turning away from the darkness of self-centredness, turning towards Christ and becoming a member of the local and worldwide Christian family.
While most people are familiar with being baptised as a child, baptism can happen at any age. What matters is that those concerned believe it is right to ask for baptism. You can only be baptised once, but if you want to renew your commitment, there are ways to do this too.
The baptism ceremony has a number of important symbols that are used during the service but none more so than the water. The water is a sign of washing and cleansing. It is symbolic of being washed free from sin and beginning a new life with God. Similarly, the water symbolises the death of our old life and the beginning of the new. As we go under the water, our old life is buried in the waters and we come up, raised to new life with Christ.
Jesus himself was baptised in the river Jordan and then told His followers to baptise others as a sign that they had turned away from their old life, and begun a new one.
Baptisms at St. Matt’s take place in the monthly family service, which takes place on the first Sunday of every month. This is so that you or your child can be seen to be joining the family of the church and be welcomed into it. In turn, the church will promise to support and pray for you and your child.
If you want to arrange a baptism, talk about renewing your commitment or to talk over any doubts and concerns you may have about baptism, please contact the Church Office. If you want to be baptised or to arrange for your child to be baptised, we will arrange for the Vicar to call in order to arrange a date for the service and explain about our baptism preparation programme.
At St. Matt’s we offer a choice of either a traditional Baptism service or a service of Thanksgiving. Those choosing the baptism service are asked to take part in our baptism preparation programme. This normally involves a couple of meetings in your home and is run by our Children and Families Minister.
text adapted from Baptism in the Church of England,
Church House Publishing, 2003.
Reproduced and adapted with permission.