Most of us have been baptised, usually as infants, and the Church continues to offer a ministry of welcome through this sacrament. If you have a child who has not yet been baptised – or if you have not been baptised yourself – please do not hesitate to contact us about this.
Baptism is one of two sacraments – the other being Holy Communion. The catechism describes a sacrament as “an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace.” For baptism, the outward visible sign is water and the inward and spiritual grace is “A death unto sin, and new birth unto righteousness.” Those to be baptised require, “Repentance, whereby they forsake sin: and faith, whereby they stedfastly believe the promises of God.”
If the person being baptised is still an infant, parents and godparents speak on his behalf. They are required to answer these questions before the congregation and before God:
Do you turn to Christ? I turn to Christ.
Do you repent of your sins? I repent of my sins.
Do you renounce evil? I renounce evil.
Parents and godparents say they will pray for the child and draw him by their example into the community of faith and walk with him in the way of Christ, and care for him, and help him to take his place within the life and worship of Christ's Church.
It is because of these commitments that the Church says that godparents should ideally be confirmed – I would be happy to help you find someone who is, so that at least some of the godparents meet this requirement. There should be at least three godparents (there is no maximum number, within reason!), and at least two of them should be the same sex as the child; parents may act as godparents to their own child. Being a godparent, as the name suggests, is all about seeing to the spiritual needs of the child – it is not to do with looking after the child if the parents are not around.
As baptism represents welcoming someone into the family of the Church, it should take place within the context of Sunday worship. This is how the Church expresses this:
It is desirable that every minister having a cure of souls shall normally administer the sacrament of Holy Baptism on Sundays at public worship when the most number of people come together, that the congregation there present may witness the receiving of them that be newly baptized into Christ’s Church, and be put in remembrance of their own profession made to God in their baptism.
If you wish to arrange a baptism you should contact me and we will agree a date and location (the baptism can take place at any of the six Churches of The Cranmer Group). If you live outside the Group, you will need to obtain the permission of the vicar where you live. I will arrange to visit you and show you a short video about baptism. You can choose between a traditional or contemporary language service and I will take down the details needed for filling in the register. If you feel you are not ready to make the commitments baptism requires, an alternative thanksgiving and naming service is available. On the day itself, you will be given a copy of the Gospel according to St Mark to read with your child and a baptism certificate. There is no charge for baptism but Gift Aid envelopes are available for donations.
I hope this brief outline helps your understanding of what is involved in baptism and the procedures we follow in The Cranmer Group. I look forward to the opportunity of meeting you and talking things through, if you would like you or your child to be welcomed into the family of the Church in this way.