What is Baptism?
Baptism is a Sacrament (an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace). The liturgy of the service makes this clear: through the sign of the cross, we are claimed for Christ; through anointing with oil, we become members of his family; through water we are washed clean of the darkness of our sins; and through the lighting of a candle, we are taught that we should shine as light in the world.
Who is Baptism for?
The church consists of members who are admitted into the fellowship of faith in Christ Jesus through Baptism. All who have come, have been baptised. All who come may be baptised: even Jesus himself was baptised to show us the way. So you don't have to be special. You don't have to be clever or strong. You may come just as you are, desiring to know, love, and follow the Lord Jesus.
The first step along the Way
Entering the Church through Baptism is much more than filling in a membership subscription to a sports club. It is the beginning of a relationship of love: love of God, and love of neighbour. So we must strive to become more loveable and more loving, to cast off vices and practice virtues. On our own, this would be impossible. But we have the help of God himself, and our brothers and sisters in the faith, to teach us and to encourage us. That is why we come together as a church: to learn more about the faith and to feed our souls, through prayer and instruction in the Scriptures.
How much will it cost?
Nothing and everything. The Church does not charge for the service of Baptism: since Christ died for all in order to set us free, all may share freely in the new life that he longs to give. The true cost is entering into a new way of life. It may be cheaper: giving up buying all those luxuries which you don't really need. It may be more expensive: giving to those in need (e.g. the poor, the homeless, the refugee).
He has showed you, O man, what is good;
and what does the LORD require of you
but to do justly,
and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God? — Micah 6:8
Whom shall I speak to?
We welcome Baptism enquiries from families resident within our parish, or from those who live beyond our parish boundary but who are regular worshippers at St. Peter’s. If you would like to discuss the arrangement of a Baptism at St. Peter’s, please contact Fr. Keith or Fr. Martin.
During the course of the conversation about Baptism, we shall require some details from you to enter into the church's formal Register of Baptisms within the parish, and onto a Baptismal Certificate (for which there is set a modest Statutory Fee). These details can be entered onto a short Application for Baptism, but please do make contact first with one of our priests, who will talk to you about the service and the new Way of life that Christian Baptism entails.
Please note that Baptisms at St. Peter's normally take place within the celebration of the Eucharist on Sunday, which is at the heart of our life as Christians.
For further information about baptism within the Church of England, please visit the Church of England Baptism website.
The choice of Godparents is very important, and is not primarily social but spiritual. A Godparent should be confirmed (or at least baptised), and have a mature faith and a willingness to learn still more. The vows that Godparents make are very important — to teach by word and example, and to pray for the spiritual wellbeing of the Godchild, as well as encouraging a love of God and the Church.
Becoming a Godparent
Becoming a Godparent is about taking up an important teaching position within the Church — showing your Godchild, by word and example, how to know, love, and follow the Lord Jesus, and to profess the Christian faith confidently. These are the vows you make — to pass on what you yourself have received from the Church and to become a spiritual friend and confidant in times of joy and sorrow.
Just as a proposal of marriage begins an engagement which is fulfilled at the Wedding, so the Godparent's vows at Baptism begin a time of instruction and encouragement which is fulfilled when your Godchild makes Confirmation of the faith. And just as the Wedding is only the beginning of a lifelong relationship with husband/wife, so the sacrament of Confirmation is the beginning of a lifelong communion with the Lord and His Church, lived around His holy Altar.