JanAshtonHi All,

Christenings…

I love Christenings: Sunday afternoons, families coming together usually all dressed up, proud parents and Godparents, a chance to pray for the child and make him or her a member of the world wide church.

I’m sad that I haven’t done one Hightown christening since I came last November. Perhaps no-one wants their child christened - and that’s fine; perhaps Father David is christening all the babies of Hightown - and that’s wonderful! However, just in case you’re thinking about getting your child christened and haven’t got around to it, here’s some information.

Q and A - About Christenings…

Can anyone have a christening service?

Yes, so long as they have not been baptised already. The Church of England welcomes all babies, children and families for christenings – whatever shape that family takes. You do not have to be married or have been a regular churchgoer – as a parent, you do not even have to have been baptised yourself – though you could be. Just ring me, Jan the vicar, 0151 929 3971 if this is something you are considering for your child.

Do godparents have to be baptised?

Yes, this is a basic requirement for a godparent because of the very special role they have in supporting a child’s faith journey.

What is the difference between a baptism and a christening?

There is no difference between a christening service and a baptism service. Some churches will use the word ‘baptism’ and some the word ‘christening’. Babies are baptised during a christening service just as couples are ‘married’ during a ‘wedding’ service.

What Happens at a christening?

At a christening a child is baptised with water. This is the heart of a christening. “…I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

The vicar will welcome everyone and especially the child who will be christened and their family. There will be a Bible reading, and the vicar will also talk about what a christening means.

The promises

You and the godparents will make some important promises for your child in the service. Everyone promises to continue supporting the child from this moment. The vicar says: “…People of God will you welcome this child and uphold them in their new life in Christ?” Everyone present says: “…With the help of God, we will.”

The sign

Often, this is the point in the service when parents and godparents will be invited to come out to stand at the front with the child. A special oil is used to make the sign of a cross on your child’s forehead. It’s a significant moment, which marks your child as belonging to God.

The vicar will say: “…Christ claims you as his own. Receive the sign of the cross.”

The water

Water which is blessed in the church’s font will be poured over your child’s head by the vicar. This is your child’s baptism. It’s a sign of a new beginning and becoming a part of God’s family.

Prayers and welcome

The vicar, or perhaps even someone else from the church, will pray for the child and for all those who will support them in their path of faith. Everyone present welcomes the child into the family of the church with words given in the service.

A candle

A candle will be given to the child at the end of the service.

What’s next?

Your family are warmly invited to come to church. Even if you move, there will be a Church of England church local to you in your new parish, so we are always there for you, wherever you are.

There’s more information here - https://churchofenglandchristenings.org

One more thing

Fridays 9am to 10am we have a worship time suitable for under 4s - Peewits. Usually I’m there. Pop in and see what we do. That way you’ll get the flavour of our church.

Revd. Jan Ashton

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