Baptism or Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child
Baptism (Also called Christening)
People bring their new-born babies for baptism for all sorts of reasons and whoever you are, you are very welcome. We baptise infants on the majority of Sundays through the year. Because of COVID only the children of one family will be baptised at each service.
If your child is under the age of six or you seek baptism as an adult then we would expect you to do this in the context of being parents or being an adult who is making a commitment to come to church. Jesus was baptised in the river Jordan and this was a turning point in his life – you can read the story in the Bible at the beginning of Mark’s Gospel in the New Testament. Jesus told his followers to baptise others as a sign that they had turned away from their old life, and begun a new life as Christ’s disciples.
At this service your Godparents are making the same commitment to the promises so they must be baptised themselves. We can arrange for the baptism of a parent or Godparent, but they need to speak to the clergy first.
Baptism is the first part of a two-part ritual. As babies are often baptised their parents and Godparents make promises on their behalf. The second part is Confirmation when people are teenagers or older and are able to confirm the promises for themselves. Usually if adults want to be baptised, they are Confirmed by the Bishop in the same service.
Sometimes people feel they can’t make this level of commitment to the church at the moment, but want to thank God for the birth of their child and celebrate with friends and family. In this case we can offer you a service of Thanksgiving and Naming. This is what it says, a service where your baby is blessed, and we name them before God. There is no water as this is part of the covenant promise that we make with God in a baptism, but it is very special for baby and family.
At the thanksgiving the commitment made by those supporting you is different. In this case they do not have to be baptised themselves, but only be prepared to support you and your baby through the ups and downs of life and ask God to be part of that journey.
Both services take place in the context of coming into the family of the church, so are part of a main church service. (The Church of England does not offer private baptisms except in extremely exceptional circumstances such as life-threatening illness.) Generally, baptisms are on 1st Sunday of the month and Thanksgivings on the 3rd Sunday.
Before a date is set the family and godparents are expected to attend a preparation afternoon generally held on a Sunday afternoon at St Peter’s, with other families. At this you can explore the commitment you are making before God and look at both services and decide what is best for you and your family.
We look forward to sharing the excitement of a new child with you.
For more information the Parish office can email you, or send you a pack, contact them on the Email link at the foot of this page or you can download the contents of the pack below.
Contents of the pack: click here for a leaflet 'Welcoming your child to St Peter's Parish, Belper'. Click here for 'Godparents' guide to Baptism in St Peter's Parish, Belper. Click here for an Enquiry form - to be filled in and returned to the Parish Office.
Also here is a link to the Church of England Website all about baptism. https://www.churchofengland.org/life-events/christenings