The arrival of a new baby in a family is a cause for joy and celebration. Very often families want to come to Church to mark the occasion in a service of Baptism or Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child.
We are delighted to offer these services to any family living in the benefice. If you don’t live in the benefice, your first point of call should be the Church of the parish in which you live. If you have a strong family connection here, please contact us and we’ll discuss with you your reasons for seeking a service here.
A Baptism service is a service of adoption – the person being baptised is joining God’s family, and is not just for children! Where a child is baptised, their parents and Godparents make declarations of Christian faith for themselves and on behalf of the child. The symbols, of water, oil, the cross and light all feature in the Baptism service to show that the person being Baptised is beginning their Christian journey towards God. It’s a big commitment, and it is important that it is seen as a beginning, not an end in itself.
Godparents play an important role in a child’s Spiritual upbringing, and they should be Baptised and, ideally, Confirmed themselves. Most families have three or four Godparents.
Adults can also be Baptised. We’re happy to talk to anyone who feels they’d like to take this step on their faith journey to prepare for this important step.
Some families feel that they are unable, in all honesty, to make the declarations of faith in the Baptism service themselves. Others feel that they’d prefer that their child is able to choose their own faith when they are older and don’t want to make that choice for them by Baptising as an infant. In those cases, and for many other reasons, some families will choose to have a Service of Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child, which is a lovely celebration of the arrival of a child in a family’s life. This service can be personalised more easily than a Baptism, and although there are no Godparents, the role of supporting friends is recognised in the service – and there is no limit to their number! We encourage families who opt for this service to create a Thanksgiving page where they write reasons they are thanking God for the gift of this child. This is used in the service and will be a treasured record of the day for the child as they grow up.
After Baptism or Thanksgiving we expect that you’d like to continue your child’s journey of faith and so we encourage you to attend Allsorts on the first Sunday of the month at St Mary’s Church, Fordingbridge, or to join our Puddleducklings group that meets on the first Thursday of the month at St Mary’s Church Hall, Fordingbridge. There is also a Godly Play group for school age children meeting at St Mary’s during the Parish Eucharist services in term-time.
To arrange a Baptism or Thanksgiving, please call the benefice office in the first instance or use the contact form on the website to discuss your options. Someone will come to visit you to talk through the service options and then you can book a date for your chosen service. Please take a look at our Baptism Information Leaflet.
You can also complete our Baptism Information form, and then send it to Parish Administrator, Church Office, 39 Salisbury Street, Fordingbridge, SP6 1AB
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Information from the Church of England website about Baptism