Baptisms at Christ Church URC

Introduction

Welcome.  We are delighted that you are considering being baptised or having your child blessed or baptised at Christ Church and sharing your special day with us.  

At Christ Church URC we offer both infant and adult baptisms.  If you wish to arrange a baptism or blessing with us please contact the Minister, Trevor Hahn, either by e-mail at minister@christchurchclactonurc.co.uk or by phone on 07854 640773.

Holy Baptism

Usually, after the date is agreed, the minister, Trevor, will arrange to come and see you in your home to discuss the details of your special day a few weeks before the service and to answer any questions you may have.

We hope the information provided is sufficient to answer all your questions but if not please do not hesitate to contact the minister.

What is Baptism?

At Christ Church URC We believe that baptism is a sacrament, an act that has been instituted by Jesus Christ, himself. We know that baptism was important in the life of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Lord and Saviour, because at the beginning of his ministry, Jesus himself chose to be baptised in the river Jordan by John the Baptist.

By his baptism Jesus identified himself with all of human kind and was offering His life back to His Heavenly Father, to be lived out in His presence, and to His greater glory.  This life of dedication to God was demonstrated in His loving concern for the whole of humankind, even unto death on the Cross.  Baptism in the Greek literally means‘drowning.’

In New Testament times and in many churches today, baptism was conducted by full immersion where a person’s whole body was completely submerged in water. This represents our drowning, our dying to our self-life, our selfish ways, where we live only for ourselves.

 

It is an acceptance that we have sinned, that we have made mistakes and our asking God to forgive us. All our sins, all the wrong things we have said, done and thought are washed away. When the person being baptised rises out of the water, it is symbolic, it is a sign of being forgiven by God, being born again, being resurrected, to a new life where we live for Jesus, where we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, where we promise to live a life in obedience to God, confirming our place within the faithful community of God.

 Through it we are called to accept the full responsibilities of being disciples of Jesus Christ. In other words, baptism is a sign that we will live our lives according to the will and purpose of God.

Baptism is a sign and a seal of our commitment to love, serve and obey God. It is our acceptance of God’s covenant of grace to us, a commitment that God makes to us freely without condition. The Bible says that: ‘God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life,’ (John 3:16).
This is a gift available to all.

Baptism is a sign and a seal that we accept God’s free unconditional offer of love and salvation and promise repent, to turn away from all the wrong things we have said, done and thought and turn back to God, to love and serve him, following him and his example by loving God and loving others.
It is a commitment to become a disciple of Christ, to live as a Christian, accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour.

This commitment usually involves regular attendance at church. Baptism requires a commitment to love and serve the Lord and hence, is often undertaken by an adult through profession of faith in Jesus Christ.

However, we also offer baptism to children and infants even though they may not fully understand the significance and importance of baptism, because we believe at Christ Church URC that Christ wants children to be part of his family too. Therefore parents, family, friends, and the Church, are reminded of their responsibility to be God’s love in their life, so that they might grow up to know, love and serve their God in Christ Jesus.

 

We offer the Sacrament of Baptism to all children, as long as the parents and godparents can make the profession of faith on their behalf, believing that Jesus Himself encourages us with the words:
“Let the children come to Me, and do nothing to prevent it;
Because to such as these belongs the Kingdom of God.”
(Mark 10: 14)

The Baptism Service and Profession of Faith

During the baptism service, it is important that we make a profession of faith as a preparation for the sacrament of baptism.

 

 

 

For this purpose, we often use‘The Apostle’s Creed’ , which was written in the early life of the Church, but remains an important statement of faith for Christians today, and links us with Christians of all traditions.

When used, this ‘Confession of Faith’ will usually be said by all present and is printed within the order of service.

The Apostle’s Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
Creator of Heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ,
God’s only Son, our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, died, and was buried;
He descended to the dead.

 

On the third day He rose again;
He ascended into Heaven,
He is seated at the right hand of the Father,
And he will come to judge the living and the
dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
The holy catholic Church,
The communion of saints,
The forgiveness of sins,
The resurrection of the body,
And the life everlasting. Amen

Promises made by the Person being Baptised

During the service, the person being baptised also makes promises as follows:

Do you believe and trust in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Maker of heaven and earth, Giver of life, redeemer of the world?

Do you repent of your sins, turn away from evil, and turn to Christ?

Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord?

Promises Made by the Parent(s) or Guardian(s)

Where a child is not old enough to understand and respond to the privileges and responsibilities of baptism the parent(s) or those bringing the child to be baptised make the following confession of

faith and promises, as follows:

Do you believe and trust in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Maker of heaven and earth, Giver of life, redeemer of the world?

Do you promise to teach ‘A’ the love of God and bring him/her up in the life and worship of the Church?

Promises made by God parents or Sponsors

God parents or sponsors of the person being baptised also make a promise as follows:

Do you promise to pray for ‘A’, and his/her home and family, and to support him/her as you are able as a minister of Christ’s love?

Promises Made by the Congregation

The congregation present during the baptism also make a promise as follows:

As a community of faith, representing the whole Church, do you welcome ‘A’ and promise to share with him/her what you yourselves have received, the gift of God’s love revealed

Should you feel that you are not able to fulfill the responsibility that comes with Infant Baptism, or if you feel that it is important to delay Baptism until your child is old enough to make their own profession of faith, then the church can offer a ‘Service of Thanksgiving and Blessing for the Gift of a Child,’ where we give thanks to God for the birth of the child, bless the child, and dedicate the parents, and Godparents to God so they may be equipped to provide a Christian home and bring the child up in the faith of Jesus and we ask God to bless the child.

Further details are available on request.

The Sacrament of Baptism

After the water has been blessed through prayer, the minister would conduct the baptism by sprinkling some water and placing a sign of the Cross (*) on the person’s forehead, saying the following:

‘A’ I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  AMEN

‘A’ I sign you with the Cross*, the sign of Christ.  AMEN

(*) We see the Cross as an important symbolin our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ,

A blessing is offered over the candidate, taken from the Old Testament(Numbers 6:24-26) which binds us together with all God’s faithful people in this life and the next.

May the LORD bless you and keep you;

the LORD make his face to shine upon you,and be gracious to you;

the LORD lift up his countenance upon you,and give you peace.

The Responsibilities of Godparents

Godparents are witnesses.  They are witnesses to their Godchild’s baptism and they are witnesses to our Lord Jesus Christ and have a responsibility to teach their Godchild about Jesus and aid and support them in their spiritual formation and growth.  Godparents can do this through living a life of love, in obedience to the teachings of Jesus Christ in the Bible, doing what is right according to Jesus Christ’s teaching and example, as well as through their words and instruction.  

Godparents are to take an active role in the life of their Godchildren.  They are to pray for them, their family and home that they would, in the case of a child,come to know Jesus Christ for themselves, and profess their own statement of faith, and to guide,support, love and encourage them in their journey of faith.  Even if the Godparents do not see their Godchildren regularly, they should remember them often praying that God’s grace would be with them and lead them through good and ill.

Being a Godparent is like being a second mother or father to the Godchild.  It means being their true friend in this life, whilst pointing always to the eternal life that only God can give.  It means above all things, being a witness to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Arrangements, Time and Date

The Sacrament of Baptism is normally undertaken on a Sunday either during the morning service, which begins at 10.25 AM in the context of worship, and will involve readings, hymns and prayers.

Please bear in mind that we will try to accommodate your preferred date and time, but some months are more popular than others and the minister, Trevor, is only available on certain Sundays in the month.

Photographs and Videos

It is request that you do not take photographs during the act of Baptism. There will be opportunity to take photographs at an appropriate time during or after the service.

If you have a professional photographer it is advisable for them to arrange to speak with the Minister, Trevor, a few days before the service to discuss the details to ensure we can meet all your requirements.

Please contact the minister, Trevor, on 07854 640773, or email minister@christchurchclactonurc.co.uk, if you would like any further information on this.

Music

Music often plays a significant part in the baptism/blessing service. We have an organist who is exceptionally talented and can play much of the more traditional music. Our minister, Trevor, is willing to guide you in any decisions you may wish to make regarding any readings or hymns – just ask.

 

Personal Details

Please note that we will require certain personal details in advance of the service, such as names, date of birth, place of birth, address, telephone number etc. and some of these will be included in our Baptismal Record.  These are subject to the church’s ‘DATA PRIVACY POLICY’ which can be made available on request.

Fee

There is no fee for conducting a baptism or blessing at Christ Church URC.  This is because we believe that the act of Baptism speaks of God’s grace FREELY GIVEN – and therefore we feel that if a charge were made, it would contradict this crucial statement.

Further Information

If you wish to discuss anything further please do not hesitate to contact the minister,Trevor by email at minister@christchurchclactonurc.co.uk or by phone on 07854640773   We look forward to hearing from you and it would be a pleasure and privilege to share with you on your special day.