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What is Baptism?

In Baptism, you as parents are thanking God for his gift of life, deciding to start your child on the journey of faith, and asking for the Church’s support on this journey.

For your child, baptism marks the beginning of a journey of faith, which involves turning away from  what the world very often considers to be the way of things, towards Christ and embracing his teaching, and becoming a member of the local and worldwide Christian family.

Baptism is a “Sacrament”,  a visible sign of God’s love. In baptism we are thanking God for his gift of life, and publicly acknowledging that love and a desire to turn away from self and to make a new start with him.

Making decisions and promises.

When you bring your child for baptism, you will be asked to declare publicly on behalf of your child, that you believe in God, and that you will bring up your child to follow Jesus.

You will be asked to answer on your child’s behalf, that you have decided to turn away from everything that is evil and sinful, and to turn instead, towards Christ.

The declarations made by you and your child’s godparents will be made in front of the church congregation, your family and friends, and in turn, the Christian community will promise to support and pray for you and your child.


Baptisms at St Mary’s usually take place on the first Sunday of the month. The Family Service which takes place at 10am on this particular Sunday and is an hour long service of words and music, is prepared for, and attracts, many children and younger families. It is a lovely and  most suitable setting in which to baptise a child.

By arrangement with the Dean (as Ministre Desservant), a baptism may also take place at other times, depending on availibility of staff, although our  preference, by far, is to baptise within the Family Service, when the regular members of the St Mary’s congregation will be there to offer their prayers and support.

It is our policy at St Mary’s to provide baptism services for each family individually. We do not do baptisms with  groups of families unless you ask to share your service with other family members or close friends.


Traditionally, the choice has been two men and one lady for a boy, and two ladies and one man for a girl. There are however, no hard and fast rules. The most important factor is that you should choose godparents who will be faithful, long term, to the promises they make on behalf of your child and thus accept a responsibility which goes far beyond the actual day of the baptism.

It is important to remember too, that for someone to be a godparent, they themselves must have been baptised. The promises they make on behalf of your child are the same promises they would make for themselves, or have made on their behalf if they were being baptised. It therefore makes no sense at all to be prepared to make these promises, and yet not to be baptised themselves.


Your first contact should be by telephone to the Churchwarden Frank Wood on 01534 869 540 where confirmation of dates and times will be available.

A visit will be arranged and a form will be completed for the church’s baptism register. The Dean (as Ministre Desservant or whoever will be conducting the baptism) will want to talk to you in preparation for the baptism and to let you know what St Mary’s has to offer in terms of support in the future for you and your child.


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