What is Baptism?
Baptisms are wonderfully happy occasions – to thank God for the gift of your child’s life, and to celebrate both your love and the love that God has for your child.
For your child baptism involves:
- Starting a journey of faith;
- Becoming a member of the local and worldwide family of God – the church.
For you as parents, and for Godparents baptism involves:
- Thanking God for his gift of life,
- Deciding to start your child on the journey of faith and to help them to become a member of the church,
- Expressing your belief in God and committing yourself to pray for and support your child or Godchild.
For the church baptism involves:
- Promising to welcome, support and pray for you and your child.
What’s the difference between Baptism and Christening?
In practice none. They are simply different names for the same service.
Can I have my child baptised at St Mary’s?
Anyone living within the parish of Chessington (the area that St Mary’s covers) has a right to have their child baptised at St Mary’s.
Baptism marks the beginning of Christian life and faith and children are baptised on the understanding that they shall be brought up as Christians within the family of the church. If you live some way away, the best church for your child’s baptism is your local church as that will be the easiest for you to go along to as a family.
However, we try to be flexible, and are willing to make some exceptions to this rule. For example, we are willing to baptise the children of those married at St Mary’s or have a particular link with the church. If you consider St Mary’s to be your ‘home’ church please do contact us as we do not wish to turn you away.
When do baptisms take place?
We hold a Service of Baptism on the Second and Fourth Sunday’s of each month at 12.00 noon.
Depending on the time of year there may be up to two families present at each baptism and we therefore kindly ask you to limit the number of your guests to no more than 50 people. We know this can be difficult for some families but we only have a small church!
What is the procedure for booking a baptism?
If you would like to pursue the possibility of booking a baptism at St Mary’s please contact the parish office (Telephone Number: 07540 144016) to make an initial appointment. We hold baptisms twice a month. To give you the best chance of booking the date you would like early enquiry is advisable. You will then be visited by our Pastoral Assistant who will talk to you about the service.
Three Steps to Baptism
We ask all families who wish to have a child baptised here at St Mary’s to take three steps:
- Step One – To come to a First Sunday Family Service when we shall say a simple prayer of thanksgiving for your child and for you as a family as you begin the baptism journey. The First Sunday Service is an informal service for all ages and is very child-friendly.
- Step Two – You request a Sunday when your child will be baptised at 12 noon. You may wish to invite friends and family to share this occasion with you.
- Step Three – Come to a First Sunday Family Service and be welcomed into the church family. You have begun a relationship with your parish church. We give you a baptism certificate and enter the details of your child’s baptism into our registers.
The Baptism Service
The Baptism Service is an informal service without hymns lasting about 20-30 minutes.
Everyone will be handed an order of service. Parents and godparents will make special promises to do all they can to care for and guide their child/Godchild.
On the day of the baptism we will do our very best to make the baptism of your child a wonderful and memorable occasion which we hope will mark the beginning of a long and happy friendship with our church.
Godparents: A Special Friendship
In choosing godparents please bear in mind the following thoughts:
- Godparents are asked to make the same promises on behalf of the child being baptised as parents. As such Godparents promise to pray for and support your child and to help you as parents to bring up your child in the Christian faith. It is an important and responsible role. Therefore choose well because they can have an enormous influence for good.
- You should have at least three Godparents, of whom at least two should be of the same sex as your child and at least one the opposite sex. However, many people today choose two couples and it is therefore common to have four Godparents. A godparent is a friend, mentor and role model to their godchild.
- Godparents must be baptised and preferably (but not essentially) confirmed.
- Godparents should either be adults or of a minimum age of sixteen.
- They may be friends or relatives but it is important that they consider the role of godparent an honour and a privilege.
The good news is that there is no charge for a service of baptism. God’s love is a free gift to all. We do however place a collection plate at the back of church on the day of the baptism and are very grateful for any donations that help us to maintain St Mary’s work in the parish.
Who to contact
If you would like any further information or would like to book a baptism at St Mary’s please contact:
Pastoral Assistant Sue Foster
Tel: 020 8397 8333