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Baptism and Thanksgiving, Naming and Blessing

   
 

Thank you ...
For making an enquiry about a service for your child in Woughton Parish.
These services are normally available for families who live within our Parish or who worship at one of our churches.

This page will tell you ...
The choice of services that we have on offer, to suit your family
Our Parish policy regarding Baptism and Thanksgiving, Naming and Blessing
About the procedure to book a service and who to contact

Introduction:
The policy on Infant Baptism and Thanksgiving, Naming & Blessing (TNB) reflects the ecumenical situation in Woughton Parish and offers two services for infants. These services are offered together as having equal importance in the life of the ecumenical parish.

1. Infant Baptism
In Baptism, you as parents are publically declaring your decision to start your child on the journey of faith and are asking for the Church’s support. In doing so you also express your thanksgiving to God for the gift of life.
Baptism is a 'sacrament': a visible sign of God's love. In baptism, you are thanking God for his gift of life and publicly acknowledging his love. We are acknowledging that we all need to turn away from the darkness of evil and to make a new start with God.

a) Baptism of infants will take place during worship when the congregation is present. There may be exceptions to this for particular pastoral or family reasons in which case a request of this nature will be dealt with on an individual basis.

b) As infant Baptism involves your child family being supported by the local church there is an expectation on your family that you become involved in the life of the church (if you are not already). We would want to see this connection being made in a natural way without any obligation on the family of attending for a ‘qualifying period’, as happens with some weddings.

c) As Parents and Godparents you commit yourselves to helping your children on their journey of faith and this means bringing them to worship at church or church groups appropriate to their age.

d) You can choose which church you would like the Baptism to be in, but generally we will encourage you to select the church covering the area in which you live as follows:
Christ the Vine Church: Coffee Hall, Leadenhall, Beanhill.
Holy Trinity Woolstones: Woolstones and Springfield.
St Mary’s: Woughton on the Green, Woughton Park. Peartree Bridge, Eaglestone.
St Thomas’: Simpson, Tinkers Bridge, Netherfield and Ashland.
Trinity Fishermead: Fishermead and Oldbrook.
There may be exceptions to this rule, for example where you have had older children baptised previously at another church and would like that connection to continue.

e) The Godparents/Sponsors chosen by you must be people who can support you and the child in the Christian faith and recognise the responsibility of this. This will mean that Godparents/Sponsors are people who are committed to the Christian faith themselves and are able to respond sincerely to the questions put to them in the Baptism service.
Preferably the Godparents/sponsors should be over 16 years of age though they may be younger in which case we would suggest that at least one of them is over 16.
Traditionally there are three supporting Godparents/sponsors - two the same sex as your child. However, there can be between 2-5 people.

f) During the service a candle, Childrens Bible, Baptism certificate and cards for the God parents are presented.

g) If you are seeking baptism for an older child. It may be appropriate for them to be baptised as infants but with a question added for your child to answer themselves.
If your family are part of the church family we should consider the possibility of doing this as a believers baptism and having your child answer the questions. This will be at the discretion of the Minister.

2. Thanksgiving, Naming and Blessing (TNB)
For some of you a TNB service is appropriate for your child.
In this service you will be thanking God publicly for the safe arrival of your child and expressing your love for the child. The basis for these services of welcome we take from the Bible, where the gospels tell us Jesus welcomed little children, placed his hands on them and blessed them.
In the service, we also take time to give thanks to God for the birth of your child; we make promises - both parents, family members and the congregation; we name your child; and we present him or her to the Church.
Other parents, who are committed Christians, may believe that baptism should be delayed until such time as their child is able to respond for themselves in the light of their own faith.

a) The Godparents/Sponsors chosen by the parents must be people who can build a relationship of trust with your child and support and encourage you as parents.
Preferably the Godparents/sponsors should be over 16 years of age though they may be younger in which case we would suggest that at least one of them is over 16.
Traditionally there are three supporting Godparents/sponsors - two the same sex as the child. However, there can be between 2-5 people.

b) During the service a Childrens Bible, TNB certificate and cards for the God parents are presented.

c) A TNB service can be booked for any time but usually on Saturday or Sunday afternoons and the booking can be made for any church in the Parish.
If you are already part of our church family, the TNB service will usually be arranged as part of the normal church worship. Where this is the case there are supplementary words which can be added to the standard TNB service to make the occasion more appropriate.

3. Criteria for accepting requests for Baptisms or TNBs:
We will accept requests for Baptism and TNB in the following cases:

a) Families who live in the Parish boundary and are part of our church family.

b) Families who live in the Parish boundary and are not part of our church family.

c) Families who live outside the Parish boundaries but are part of our church family.

In the following cases we would recommend that families make contact with the church nearest them in the Parish in which they reside:

d) Families who live outside the Parish and are not part of our church family.

e) Families who had a previous child baptised/dedicated at one of the Parish churches but have now moved out of the Parish and are not part of our church family.

f) Families who live outside of the Parish but were married at one of the Parish churches and are not part of our church family.

Note:
For case (d) above, very occasionally it may be appropriate to offer Baptism/TNB in exceptional circumstances, but families should contact their local church first.
For cases (e) & (f) above, we would recommend that families should contact their local church first but we will be flexible about your request and encourage you to get to know us better if you are still keen to have the baptism/TNB at one of our churches.

4. Believer’s baptism:
A request for Believers Baptism will be dealt with by the relevant church’s Minister.

Cost:
We do not make a charge for a TNB service held outside normal service times, however if an organ and/or organist is required there will be a fee of £45.
There are heating, lighting and other costs too and so we will ask for a contribution towards these on the day of the service as people leave.
There is no charge for a Baptism, as this is normally part of the usual Sunday service.

Children in Church:
Our churches have much to offer families:
The main Sunday services in each church have Sunday Schools which have their own teaching.
ABC (Adults, Babies and Children) runs on Tuesday and Thursday mornings during term time

Baptism and you:
It may be that thinking about your child’s service has raised questions that we can talk about when we meet (for example, if you have never been baptised and would like to know more about Believer’s Baptism).
Please do reflect on what would be best for your child, and we at Woughton will help to make the service a memorable occasion.

What to do next:

You will be telephoned and, following an initial discussion, you will either be invited to a one and a half hour session at one of our churches, or a visit to your home will be arranged, to explore further what service would be appropriate for you.
At the end of the session, if you wish to proceed, we will take full details from you and will then confirm the date and time of the service with you later.
(There is quite often a waiting list for services, so it will be difficult for us to commit to a date during the initial discussion.)