Thanksgiving and Baptism
We are delighted that you would like to come to church to mark the birth of your child. We offer two different services at St Matthew’s that may be of interest to you, Thanksgiving and Baptism. There is no charge for either service.
At your initial meeting with the vicar we will give you a leaflet that explains the meaning of each service and will hopefully answer some of your questions. Once you have had a few days to read the leaflet, a member of St Matthew’s will give you a ring to see whether you want to go ahead. If so, they will arrange a meeting to discuss the options further and help you reach a decision that is right for you and your family.
The service of thanksgiving provides an important opportunity for you to say ‘thank you’ to God for your son or daughter.
During the service, we will ask you to ‘name’ your child and we will pray for God’s blessing to be upon them. We will also give you a certificate and a children’s Bible or book to mark the occasion.
It is usually possible to arrange a thanksgiving service for a time that suits you and your family, for example on a Sunday afternoon. But we would like to encourage you to hold the service as part of our main morning service at St Matthew’s, when the whole church family has an opportunity to welcome you and your child.
If you decide to have a thanksgiving service, you will still have the option to hold a baptism service for your child at a later date if you wish, once you have had the opportunity to consider all that baptism entails.
Baptism is also known as ‘Christening’ (both words mean the same thing).
At baptism you promise to raise your child in the Christian faith and to help them follow Jesus as a member of a local church. Baptism therefore marks one of the most important stages in a person’s life - child or adult – and so we want to be able to help you prepare for it.
When do baptisms take place?
At St Matthew’s we conduct baptisms in our main morning service at 10.30am on the first Sunday of each month.
One of the reasons we hold baptisms in our main service is because baptism is a sign that your child has become a member of God’s worldwide family and part of our local church. During the service, the congregation will therefore welcome you and your child into the family of the church at St Matthew’s. The congregation will also be asked to make promises to help your child to be brought up in the Christian faith at St Matthew’s.
What do I have to say?
During the service, you and your child’s godparents will be asked some questions in which you will all declare your Christian faith before God and in front of the congregation and promise to help to bring up your child to follow Jesus. It is therefore important that you think seriously about whether you feel ready to make these promises. When we visit you, we will show you the questions, explain what they mean and be happy to answer any questions you might have.
How do I choose Godparents?
We suggest that you choose three godparents. Two should be the same sex as your child and one of the other sex.
Think carefully about your choice of godparents, as their role is an important and responsible one. Choose people you trust to take an interest in your child’s spiritual welfare and to pray for them. They, like you, will be asked to make public declarations of their Christian faith in the service and so it is important that they feel able to do so. As a result, it is important to choose godparents who are Christians.
All godparents, and ideally both parents, should themselves already be baptised.
Worshipping at St Matthew's
We want you to be sure that St Matthew’s will be the right place for your child to be baptised, and for you and your family to belong to. Worshipping with us on Sundays enables you to begin to get to know us, and give us the chance to get to know you. That is important because the promises made in the baptism service will involve us all. We would therefore strongly encourage you to use the weeks leading up to the baptism to start coming regularly to St Matthew’s. That will hopefully make the day all the more special when it arrives.