Symbols and actions used during the service
A number of important symbols and actions will be used during the service itself:
The sign of the cross - the priest will make the sign of the cross on your child's forehead. This is like an invisible badge to show that Christians are united with Christ and must not be ashamed to stand up for their faith in him.
Revd. Stuart says:
Christ claims you for his own.
Receive the sign of his cross.
Do not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified.
Water - Revd. Stuart will pour water on your child's head. Water is a sign of washing and cleansing. In baptism it is a sign of being washed free from sin and beginning a new life with God.
Water is a sign of life, but also a symbol of death. When we are baptized, it is as though our old life is buried in the waters (like drowning) and we are raised to new life with Christ.
Anointing - after baptism in water, Revd. Stuart will anoint him or her with oil. This is a sign of the outpouring of God's Holy Spirit.
Revd. Stuart says:
May God, who has received you by baptism into his Church, pour upon you the riches of his grace, that within the company of Christ's pilgrim people
you may daily be renewed by his anointing Spirit, and come to the inheritance of the saints in glory.
The welcome - the church congregation will say some formal words of welcome to acknowledge that you child has joined the Church and to show how pleased they are to have you among them.
Candles - Jesus is the Light of the World. A large candle may be lit in the church and you may also be given a lighted candle at the end of the service as a reminder of the light which has come into your child's life.
A lot of people think a baptism service is just a christening service to give a child a name formally. But a Church of England Baptism can take place whatever your age. It is your opportunity to join the family of the Church and to be welcomed into membership. In turn the Church will promise to support and pray for you.
Baptism of a baby or young child requires parents and godparents to take the vows for the child until they are old enough to be confirmed into membership of the church and take the vows for themselves. If you wish to be baptised as an adult, please speak to our Vicar, Revd. Stuart Dimes. There is no charge for a Baptism at Hampton Church for Parents bringing a child to baptism.
What happens during the service?
So that members of the church can welcome the baby or child, the baptism can take place during the main Sunday service on either the first or third Sunday in the month, but if this is not possible, you can arrange to have the baptism at a different time, usually 2 pm on Sundays if there is not a wedding taking place.
Revd. Stuart will make sure you know where to sit and when you need to move. Some parts of the service will be for the whole congregation to join in, some will be for you and the godparents.
Part of the baptism service will normally take place at the front of the church, but for the baptism itself, parents and godparents are usually be asked by Revd. Stuart to gather around the font. (The font is a large basin on a pedestal, usually made of stone, containing the water for baptism that has been blessed.)
Revd. Stuart will ask the parents and godparents to make declarations on behalf of the child.
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 your child up to follow Jesus.
You will be asked to answer, on your child's behalf, that you have decided to turn away from everything which is evil or sinful and instead to turn towards Christ.
The declarations made by you and the child's godparents are usually made in front of the church congregation; the local Christian community will promise to support you and pray for you and your child and this is a lovely occasion. However, you can have the baptism with just your family and friends if you are unable to attend the morning service.
The role of godparents
Godparents make the same promises on behalf of the child being baptised as parents. Godparents promise to pray and support the child and to help the parents to bring up the child in the Christian faith. It is an important and responsible role.
You should have at least three godparents: two of the same sex as the child and one of the opposite sex. Godparents can be family members or friends. However, it is important that you choose people who will take an interest in your child's spiritual welfare and who will pray for you and your child. Godparents must themselves be baptized, and should also be confirmed.
It is up to you, the child's godparents and the church community to help your child reject the world of darkness and follow a way of life that reflects goodness and light and shares this light with others.
After discussing and agreeing a suitable date and time with Revd. Stuart, please complete a baptism form for each child to be baptised and return it to the church office as quickly as possible. If you are being baptised as an adult, we will ask you to complete a baptism form for adults.