Welcome to the world!
The birth of each child is a unique moment of expectation for a family. New life, new love, new hope. It is right that you want to welcome your little one into the world amongst family and friends, and to seek God’s blessing on his or her life. At its core, this is what baptism is, and it is the Church’s great privilege to give voice to this blessing through baptism — a ritual bath with water, given in the name of the Christian God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — and we are pleased to welcome you.
(If you are an adult seeking baptism, please see below.)
Is baptism right for us?
Baptism, however, is not simply a rite of welcoming. Baptism also brings a person into membership in the Church and thus requires, both on your part and on the part of the godparents, a declaration of Christian faith and a promise to bring up your child in that context. These vows are solemn — in the Church’s mind, they are of the same kind of importance as marriage vows — and (in the words of the marriage ceremony) “are not to be entered into lightly or thoughtlessly”. After you make these vows, the priest will baptise your child, who will then be recognised as a part of the Church community for the rest of his or her life.
The Wentwood Parish Group truly wishes to support you in this decision: to that end, we provide regular opportunities for family engagement within our Churches. (See below.) Naturally, we understand what it’s like raising a family — those of us not doing it ourselves are often helping our children to raise their own families — and we know that some will have doubts about committing to regular Sunday worship. That said, in baptism, you are asking us to declare that your child is one of our people, and in return we are asking you, with our support, to honour that declaration in some meaningful way. If you would like to talk about this further, our clergy will be very happy to chat.
We welcome any child for baptism, as long as the parents understand the promises they are making. It is entirely your decision as to whether or not you intend to follow them up. Be assured that we are not the Church police, nor do we place our own artificial limits on God’s grace in baptism. However, if you feel, upon reflection, that making these promises is not the right way forward for you or your family, we will still be most happy to welcome your child to God’s world through a thanksgiving service in which the central act will be a public blessing and declaration of God’s unique love for this special child.
What welcome do you provide for families year round?
For starters, we offer light-hearted family services on Sundays throughout the month. (Click here to find the next one). Your family are equally welcome to any of our services, however — the clergy and congregations are all well-accustomed to young voices — and, in several of our Churches, we have have child-friendly areas with toys and books. For weekday, after-school activities, JC’s Crafty Arts Club meets every Thursday in Caerwent Church at 16.30 for children's crafts, games, art, stories … as well as a hot meal. Parents are welcome to drop off children, or to stay for a fresh cup of coffee. (You can also meet the parish priest in an informal setting: he’s the cook, dishwasher, and one of the daddies.) We also offer several opportunities thoughtout the year for you and your young people to meet us — the parish barbeque, treasure hunt, our Saints & Sausages Hallowe’en party, and our Christingle and Nativity services, to name a few.
What happens at the baptism service?
The basic shape of the service is a welcoming and opening prayer, a reading or two from scripture, a few words from the priest about the nature of baptism, the administration of the baptismal vows, the baptism itself, the presentation of the newly-baptised person(s) with a few symbols of the Christian faith. The service concludes with the blessing of the newly-baptised, the wider family, and those who have come to join in the event. If you’re curious, you can find a copy of the Church in Wales service to view or download here.
In the main service or stand-alone?
The Christian ideal is to conduct baptisms within the Church's main worship service, so that the regular congregation can welcome the newly-baptised, and pledge their support to stand with you as you raise your little one in the Christian faith. That said, the practicalities in small country Churches (like most of those in our group) mean that, owing to sheer numbers of people, we often find that large baptism congregations are best served by having a dedicated service. These would normally take place at 13.00 on Sunday afternoon. If you are in doubt about which option you would prefer, please let us know.
Is there a right age?
Although parents tend most often to bring children for baptism towards the end of their first year of life, there is no set rule, nor is there any customary expectation. We have baptised people from 3 days old to adulthood — and, in several cases, more than one child in a family at the same service. (Sometimes even a parent gets baptised within the service.) If a child has grown old enough to know his or her own mind, the priest will wish to confirm that the child is happy to be baptised and has a general understanding of what will be happening. Other than that, it is never too early nor too late.
Can adults be baptised?
Yes! From the very beginning, Christians welcomed converts through adult baptism. If you have not previously been baptised and wish to join the Christian Church, then please let us know and we will be most happy to discuss this with you. It may be that, as an unbaptised parent, you might find it appropriate to seek membership in the Church yourself before seeking it for your child. It may be that you need to be baptised in order to serve as a godparent.
It may also be — whether or not you approach us with a child — that you have found yourself on a spiritual journey which has led you to us, and that you now wish to claim your place in our community and join in our corporate life with one another as we seek God together. If this is the case — or if you’re not sure — please feel free to contact us for an easy and friendly chat.
What’s the difference between a "baptism" and a "christening"?
In practice — not a thing. “Baptism" is the act of ritual washing given in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. “Christening" refers to the act of bringing a child into membership in the Christian community … which is done only through the act of baptism.
Will my child need to be baptised if s/he wants to get married in Church?
Baptism is not a requirement for a Church wedding. The only requirement for a Church wedding is that the bride or groom either reside in the parish or have a qualifying connection. (See here.) If you wish for you child to be baptised for any reason other than the baptism itself, you may wish to consider a service of thanksgiving and blessing instead.
What are godparents and who can be godparents?
Godparents are close trusted friends, and baptised members of the Church, who sponsor your child into membership, and promise alongside you to help you raise your child in the Christian faith. It is envisaged that they will be special people, present and close and loyal, to nurture and love your child for many years to come. Therefore, do consider well who is likely best to fulfil this role; some godparents take the responsibility more seriously than others.
On a practical level, it is a requirement that godparents should be baptised themselves, because it is on their word that the child is sponsored into the community. It is customary to have at least two baptised Christians, one male and one female, to serve as godparents. It is very common to have four godparents, and it is not unheard of to have as many as six. The choice is yours, although we will be happy to advise. If you have in mind for godparent someone who is not baptised, please let us know, and we will be very happy to discuss with you the options for honouring that person’s relationship with you and your child.
Is there a fee?
No. Absolutely not. We do not charge to proclaim God’s love for your precious child. It really is that simple. We are always grateful for donations, and we hope that you will see what value there is in helping up to keep the Church open in your community. But baptism is God’s gift to your child, and our gift to you.
I’d like to book a baptism, please. Great! Please click below to get your enquiry started …