Baptisms & Christenings 

Children are a gift from God. Naturally, many parents want to celebrate their arrival with some form of service in church. The Good Shepherd is part of the Church of England which, like many churches, recognises two main services to celebrate the birth of a child:

1. Thanksgiving
2. Baptism (sometimes called 'Christening')

Both take place during our 10.30am Sunday service.

Thanksgiving Service
Thanksgiving is a service for those who wish, quite simply, to say 'thank you' to God for their child. Prayers are said, the child is named and blessed and a Children's Bible is given which tells the story of Jesus.

Baptism Service (also known as 'Christening')
Baptism is for those who want to state their desire to bring up their child as a Christian. It therefore involves words of commitment to Jesus Christ and to church. As well as the words of commitment, the child is named, water is poured over the child, and prayers are said. Baptism is the mark of being part of the Christian Church.
The Church is a family of people who are committed to each other and who promise to support and encourage children who are brought for Baptism.
Families bringing their child for baptism hope that one day their child will be confirmed and make this commitment to Jesus and to church for themselves.
We ask you to think very carefully about this service as you will be committing to a clear and personal statement of belief in the Christian faith.

Some Questions Answered

What is the role of a godparent?
Godparents are those who agree to be especially concerned for their godchild's development, particularly their spiritual growth. Ideally, they will be committed to pray for them. You need at least one male and one female Godparent. They need to be baptised and ideally members of a local church.

Once our child has been baptised, have we completed our Christian duty?
No, it's only just begun! At baptism, parents and godparents commit themselves to help the child grow up as a Christian, believing and trusting in God. Parents in particular need to encourage their child to worship regularly, read the Bible and pray. These will be very important for you to help your child continue in the Christian faith.

Is our child 'worse off' if I choose Thanksgiving or Baptism?
God loves everyone, whether your child has had a Service of Baptism, Thanksgiving or nothing at all. (There is no legal requirement to be baptised if you wish to get married in a Church of England church).

What if we want 'baptism' but don't feel we can make a clear commitment to Jesus Christ and His Church?
It is important that at least one parent is able to say the baptismal promises with integrity. If neither of you think you can do that, then it is best to have a thanksgiving service, or to wait. Waiting can be a good option. There is no hurry to have your baby 'done'! Please think carefully about the implications of Christian faith for you and your family. Why not find out more? We recommend coming to a Christianity Explored course to help prepare you for this.

What Do We Do Next?
Contact the Parish Office 01252 375578 to arrange to talk to someone about the next step for you.
If you have not been to a service at The Good Shepherd before, then please come along to our morning service, which starts at 10.30am each Sunday. There is a self-service créche every Sunday and groups for children between 3-16 years. The service lasts about an hour and would be an ideal opportunity to get a feel for what you are undertaking, especially if you are planning on a Service of Baptism. You will be expected to attend some preparation classes to help you understand the commitment you are going to make. We look forward to meeting you and helping you explore the Christian faith further.