We are delighted that you are coming to us for baptism (also called christening) and we look forward to this special day for you.
If you would like to arrange a baptism, please contact our Benefice Administrator, Michelle Bailey-Wells, on 01993 779 492 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You will need to fill in this Baptism Application Form
If you are unsure about what is involved in a baptism service, here are links to some Church of England guides to baptism:
- A Step-by-Step Guide to the Christening Service
- A Parents’ Guide to Christening
- A Guide for Godparents
- A Guide for Guests
- Next Steps: After the Christening
What is Baptism?
Baptism marks the beginning of a life-long journey with God, supported by the community of faith, as well as by godparents or sponsors. There are four main symbols used in the sacrament of Baptism; below you will find a brief explanation of each one.
Oil of Catechumens
There are two oils used at baptism: the oil of catechumens, or baptism, and the oil of chrism. These oils will have been blessed by a bishop on Maundy Thursday. The first oil used is the oil of baptism. The priest makes the sign of the cross on the forehead of the person being baptised with this oil. This is like a badge of faith, worn for the rest of our life, and a symbol that we belong to Christ (another name for Jesus). The shape of the cross reminds us of Christ’s death for us.
Water is symbolic throughout the bible, from the waters of creation and the rescue of the ancient Israelites from slavery in Egypt through the Red Sea to Jesus’ own baptism in the river Jordan by John the Baptist. Water symbolises life, refreshment and cleansing.
In baptism, we are cleansed from sin, dying to our old life and rising from the waters of baptism to new life, just as Christ died and rose again, and we become a part of the story of salvation (God’s rescuing of God’s people).
During baptism, the priest blesses the water so that it becomes ‘holy,' or set apart, for the special use of baptism. In this way, we believe that we are ‘born again’ by water and the Spirit.
Oil of Chrism
The second oil used at baptism is the oil of chrism, which is the same oil used at coronations, a reminder that the person being baptised is like a king or queen in God’s sight. It is also an oil of commissioning, used at confirmations (when a person who has been baptised confirms the promises made at their baptism) and ordinations (when a person becomes a deacon or priest), reminding us that all the baptised have a job to do, spreading the good news of God’s love for all people. This oil has a sweet smell and is smeared across the forehead as a sign of the sealing in of the Holy Spirit received at baptism.
A candle is used to represent the light of Christ and Christ’s conquering of the powers of darkness through his death and resurrection. In baptism, we pray that we will take on the light of Christ ourselves and reflect it in the world today. It is traditional to light this candle each year on the anniversary of our baptism as a reminder and celebration of our baptism.