What is Baptism all about?
As part of Christian life throughout the centuries, baptism marks an important stage in our journey with God which continues for the rest of our lives, and our response to God’s love. For all involved, particularly the candidates but also parents, godparents and sponsors, it is a joyful moment when we rejoice in what God has done for us in Christ, making serious promises and declaring the faith. The wider community of the local church and friends welcome the new Christian, promising support and prayer for the future. Hearing and doing these things provides an opportunity to remember our own baptism and reflect on the progress made on that journey, which is now to be shared with this new member of the Church. As the church community, we take Baptism very seriously and therefore we invite you to explore with us the significance and importance of this, as you prepare for this great occasion.
Who can be baptised in Lymington?
Children whose parents live in the parish or whose parents’ names are on the Parish Electoral Roll have the right to be baptised here. If you live outside the parish (for example in Pennington or Boldre) and have an appropriate reason for wanting the baptism at Lymington you will need to contact us and your local parish to ask for approval. See our map of the parish boundaries.
Where and when would the service be?
Baptisms take place in St.Thomas’ on the High Street. The service is normally at 3pm and lasts about twenty minutes. There is usually a waiting list of two to three months for baptism so please don’t wait until the last minute to get in touch!
You will be invited to pick up an application form from one of our Sunday morning services. Once you have completed the form you will be invited to bring it back to a meeting with the Vicar which is an opportunity to talk through what is involved in a Baptism and ask any questions you may have.
What happens in the service?
The service paints many vivid pictures of what happens on the Christian way. There is the sign of the cross, the badge of faith in the Christian journey, which reminds us of Christ’s death for us. Our ‘drowning’ in the water of baptism, where we believe we die to sin and are raised to new life, unites us to Christ’s dying and rising, a picture that can be brought home vividly by the way the baptism is administered. Water is also a sign of new life, as we are born again by water and the Spirit. This reminds us of Jesus’ baptism. And as a sign of that new life, there may be a lighted candle, a picture of the light of Christ conquering the darkness of evil. Everyone who is baptized walks in that light for the rest of their lives.
Who (and how many) can be a godparent?
A godparent must be a baptized Christian, and preferably confirmed. You should try to choose people who will be good role models for your child – ‘Who do I want my child to be like?’ The normal pattern is to have two godparents of the same sex as the child and one of the opposite sex, but it is far more important to have the right people than to stick to this.
What do parents and godparents do?
In the service itself, the parents and godparents are asked to affirm their Christian faith and they make promises to bring up the child as a Christian, ‘by teaching and example’. A card is usually given to the godparents reminding them that they should:
- Pray regularly for the child
- Set an example of Christian living
- Help the child to grow in the Christian faith
- Give every encouragement to follow Christ and fight evil
- Help the child towards Confirmation
How much does it cost?
There is no charge for a baptism – it is a symbol of God’s free and unconditional love for all people. There is usually a plate available at the church if anyone wishes to make a donation.
What happens next?
You will need to contact the parish office.
More information can be found on the Church of England website churchofenglandchristenings.org