Celebrating New Life
Baptism is a symbol of beginning your life as a follower of Jesus. You can be baptised at at any age or stage in life. In the bible, this symbol of Christian initiation is always connected with faith. Baptism asks us to ‘repent and believe’, as a commitment to starting again, and promises us the gift of the Holy Spirit to help live out our promises.
Acts of the Apostles 2:38-39
‘Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.’
When a baby is born into the family or you have recently adopted a child we would love to help you celebrate and thank God for their arrival. There are two ways to mark the occasion in church; a baptism or a dedication.
Infant baptism, often known as being christened, is when you make promises to God on behalf of your child. The service contains signs and symbols marking the start of their journey as a Christian. Parents and Godparents are expected to declare their faith in God during the service and support the child as they become a member of the church family.
A Dedication Service is a chance to say ‘Thank you’ to God for the gift of your child and ask God to bless your future life together as a family. It is natural and right to do this. This service gives you the opportunity to do this without having to make promises to God (which the service of baptism requires) which you may not feel ready to make.
The Service of Thanksgiving reflects the sentiment behind the following Bible passage: ‘Jesus said: “Let the children come to me”… and he took them in his arms and blessed them’. During the service your child will be welcomed, prayers will be said and there will be a bible story. You can take home a certificate which marks the event. Choosing a Dedication Service is not ‘second best’. Your child can still be baptised at a later stage, when they are old enough to decide for themselves.
Choosing to follow Jesus is the best decision you will ever make! Recognising this by being baptised in a church service is a wonderful occasion. Baptism is ‘a visible symbol of the invisible gift of God’s grace’, as well as being a sign of your membership in the global church.
If you were baptised as a baby promises were made on your behalf. You only ever need to be baptised once so we invite you to consider making those promises for yourself in a Service of Affirmation or asking how you can be confirmed in a service led by a bishop.