Baptism Policy 2012



St Mary’s takes seriously the concept that at baptism a child becomes a member of the family of God and, in recognition of that membership, joins the local worshipping community here at St Mary’s. For this reason baptisms normally take place at the church’s main service of worship at 10am, unless there are overriding pastoral reasons for them to take place on another occasion or at another place.

Process for child and infant baptisms

  • Initial contact is generally made via the Priest-in-Charge who arranges to meet with the parents at a mutually convenient date.
  • Parents who live in the parish are always welcome to have their children baptised at St Mary’s. We do not normally do baptisms where parents live outside the parish unless they are regular worshippers at St Mary’s.
  • Parents are required to undertake preparation before the baptism of their children. This will usually involve at least two meetings at which the content and nature of the Baptism Service will be discussed and parents will be encouraged to take seriously the vows they make on behalf of the child. These vows include an undertaking to join the local community of faith.
  • In recognition that many parents are reluctant to claim a fully committed Christian faith, all enquirers are normally offered the alternative of a Thanksgiving for a Child Service, which requires neither preparation nor a defined level of Christian commitment (see below).

Procedure for adult baptisms

Candidates for adult baptism are expected to have an understanding of the Christian faith and a genuine desire to be fully committed followers of Christ. They will normally attend a Christian Basics course before being baptised and will be confirmed at the next available service of confirmation.

Thanksgiving for a Child Service (previously known at St Marys as Naming Ceremony)

In recognition that most people bringing babies and young children for baptism do not claim a fully committed Christian faith and do not wish to become worshipping members of St Mary’s, we encourage parents to consider the alternative of a Thanksgiving Service. This service allows the birth of the child to be celebrated and officially ‘named’ in a worship setting, with God’s blessing being sought for both parents and child as the family seek to grow together in faith and love. The child is free to be baptised at a later date either when he/she is old enough to make a faith commitment for him/herself, or when the parents acknowledge a more clearly defined faith for themselves.

ratified by St Mary’s PCC on 6th November 2012

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