First Things First, as a Church we are glad that you have taken an interest in having a baptism.
What is Baptism?
Baptism is one of the seven sacraments (or sort of sacred signs) recognized by the Anglican Church. Through baptism, we symbolize becoming children of God, members of Christ's body the Church, and full participants in the ministry of God throughout the world.
Baptism is the only rite required for full membership of the Church, including entry
to the Eucharist.
Becoming a member of the Church
or, similarly, committing one's child to God
Becoming a child of God and a follower of Christ
Because becoming a member of the Church is such an important part of baptism, it is best if it takes place in a public service of worship (usually the normal Sunday service). This however can be negotiated.
What Does The Service Involve?
The Baptism will, when in a part of a wider service, involving prayers, readings from the Bible, singing and (usually) a sermon and Communion. By having it as a part of such a service the congregation are committing themselves to upholding your child (or you at an adult baptism!) in prayer, friendship, and the aroha of God.
During the baptism you will be asked to present your child, and, together with others, answer some questions and make some promises. Your child will have water poured over her / his head and be ‘signed/sealed’ with the sign of the cross. This is done using holy oils, set apart by the bishop each year for this sacred rite.
An important part of the baptism is the welcoming of your child into the family of God and the commitments made by all present to support her/him in the faith.
What Promises Do I Make?
When your child is baptised you will promise to:
Turn to Christ
Believe and trust in God
Love your child and share your faith with her/him
We are all on a journey, discovering what these promises mean.
As well as those promises, it is the responsibility of parents, godparents, and all who gather with you to exemplify and nurture your child with understanding of
The Lord’s Prayer and how to pray
The Creeds and the Faith of the Church
The Commandments and how to obey the teaching of Christ
How to read the Scriptures to discover the Word of God
You are also encouraged to in turn encourage you child to become actively involved in the Church, to affirm in their lives and attitudes their baptismal promises and perhaps one day make their commitment to Christlike service at a Confirmation service.
Naturally, you will not be expected to do any of these things alone. As a Church we also agree to support your child and share our faith with them.
Do I Have To Come To Church?
Well we'd like you to! In reality though how you choose to fulfil the promises you make is up to you. However being part of a worshiping community can genuinely enrich for your child's growth to full maturity in their life and their Christian journey.
All we ask is that you give careful consideration to whether you are really prepared to carry through with the commitments you enter into.
What If I Decide Baptism Is Not What I Am Looking For?
The Church does offer other options if you are simply looking for a naming ceremony or a way to thank God for your child. In particular, the Prayer Book includes ‘A Service of Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child’ which can take place anywhere at any time.
The vicar will be happy to discuss any alternative options with you.
Do I Have To Have Godparents?
For an adult baptism, no. Godparents (sometimes called Sponsors) are optional. For the baptism of a child, you should choose at least one person to act as a godparent; thought should be given as to who would best be able to live up to the responsibilities involved.
Traditionally boys have had two godfathers and one godmother, while girls have had two godmothers and one godfather. However, there are no minimum or maximum numbers of godparents permitted.
What If I Live Outside the Parish?
Before we can proceed you are encouraged to contact the vicar of the parish in which you live to have a conversation about the meaning of baptism.