Your child is a wonderful gift from God - it’s only right to celebrate!
That’s why at All Saints we love to welcome families who want to thank God, and bring their little ones to be part of the church family. We are very pleased to be part of that, and this page explains some of the ways we may be able to help you.
At All Saints we offer two different types of service: a service of Blessing for your child or a service of Baptism, marking the start of a journey of faith.
Both are ways of celebrating the life of your child, and offer the opportunity for a family celebration. The main difference is the extent and depth of Christian commitment that each service asks of you.
What is a Blessing?
A Blessing – or to give it its full legal name: “Thanksgiving for the gift of a child” – is a celebration to mark the birth and naming of your child. We give thanks for your child’s life, and pray for you and your little one, asking for God’s help in the years to come. It is the sort of service that anyone who believes in God can stand up and take part in, even if they are not sure what else they believe. It’s a great way to express gratitude for the birth of your child, and to be prayed for.
If you want to thank God for the gift of your child, but don’t feel ready for the solemn promises that baptism involves, then the blessing is for you.
What is a Baptism?
Baptism—or christening—is a deeper and more solemn decision for a family. By it, you are publicly making a decision to bring your child up as an active part of the church.
For your child, baptism is a sign of what Jesus has done for his church and a seal (like the ones you get on formal documents) authoritatively speaking of God’s promises to us. In the service, Parents and godparents make very solemn promises before God—just like wedding vows—and declare their belief in Jesus.
The promises are about
- turning away from the natural way of doing things, and letting God rule every area of life (the Bible word for this is “repenting”) and
- trusting Jesus Christ and receiving his gifts of forgiveness and Holy Spirit to change us, so we can live for him (the Bible word for this is “believing”).
As parents you will also promise to bring your child up to know Jesus, reading the Bible with them, praying with them, and bringing them to church week by week.
Along with you, the whole church will also pray that your child will grow up to understand and commit themselves to the promises made in baptism. This they can do when they are old enough, and be brought for what’s called ‘confirmation’.
Baptism is for the children of parents who are—or would like to be—active and practising Christians. The Christian faith is a personal relationship, knowing and enjoying God through Jesus, that is shared with others in a local church.
If you’re not part of the church family already, the first thing to do is come along to church and meet us one Sunday morning. You might want to have a chat with Ben (our vicar), Ali (our associate) or one of the team.
The next step is that we’ll then invite you to one of our Baptism Preparation courses. We hold these two or three times a year. These are very informal and relaxed, and give you a proper chance to meet us, along with several other parents who are also considering baptism. We can then discuss with you how you would like to proceed. If you’re keen to go ahead, we normally arrange the Baptism a month or so later.