© St John’s Church 2016 Registered Charity No 1144611
St John’s Church, Belmont
A Church of England & Methodist Church
Baptism (or Christening as it is often called) is one of the ‘Sacraments’ of the church. A sacrament is possibly best described as a physical action which conveys a spiritual blessing, a gift of God.
Originally it was undertaken by those who had converted to Christianity, and was the route through which they became members of the Church - the community of faith. Very soon the early church wanted their whole households - which would have included children - to share in this new life. Both the Church of England and the Methodist Church baptise all ages, including infants.
People have many different reasons for bringing children to baptism - to say thanks for a safe birth (maybe especially after a difficult pregnancy); to celebrate the new arrival; as a public naming ceremony; to continue a family tradition... All of these are good reasons, and are all a part of the ceremony. But the Christian understanding goes further.
When a child is baptised, the Parents and Godparents speak on their behalf, promising to bring their child up in the Christian faith - to regular worship and prayer - and in due course to consider Confirmation. They publicly proclaim that they ‘turn to Christ’, ‘repent of their sins’ and ‘renounce evil’. The child (or adult candidate - who speaks on their own behalf) is then anointed with oil (as a sign that Christ claims them for his own), baptised with water (signifying both that they have been cleansed from sin, and that they have ‘died’ to their old life, being reborn to the new life in Jesus) and given a candle (to symbolise that they have received the light of Christ).
If you live in the parish of Belmont or are a regular member, you are welcome to seek Baptism at St John’s. If you live outside the parish, you are welcome to enquire, but you must seek the ‘goodwill’ of your own parish priest. Please contact the Church Office for further information.
You may wish to consider a Thanksgiving service as an alternative to a full baptism service. A Service of Thanksgiving for the birth of a Child is also available for soon after birth.
At St John’s, baptised children who are regular attenders can receive Communion, after a time of preparation.
For further information please follow the links to the Church of England website, or that of the Methodist Church.