Welcoming your child into the family of St Philip’s, Kelsall. An introduction to services of Thanksgiving and Baptism also known as Christening
You are probably reading this after the birth of a child and because you are thinking about having a service in church for her or him. Congratulations on the arrival of your child. We are also pleased that you are thinking of bringing him or her to church. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Mark 10.14)
To start planning your service – or services – please contact St. Philip’s church by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org by phone, 01829 752639 and a message will direct you to the person who can help you. We are currently seeking a new Vicar but our visiting Vicars will take the service or services for you in the meantime. The rest of this leaflet explains what happens after that.
Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child
It is natural to want to say ‘thank you’ for the birth of your child. Christians believe that the person to whom we should say the biggest ‘thank you’ is God, the Creator of the world and our Heavenly Father.
Our policy at St Philip’s is to invite you to a Family Service where we will say thank you to God for your child and ask for his blessing on her or him. We will use a prayer like this one:
We encourage all families to share in this service. For some people, this says what they want to say – thanking God for a safe delivery and asking for his continued blessing on their child. The service is focused on the child and parents. Our Family Service is usually on the last Sunday of the month at 10.30 a.m. We will be able to give you the dates of the next few services so that you can choose which one to come to.
Although Thanksgivings normally take place during a Family Service, we can also plan a special service for you at a different time if you decide not to have your child baptised.
You may be planning a family party. The birth of a child is a great excuse for a celebration! Think about whether you are going to have that party on the day of your child’s Thanksgiving service or when/if your child is baptised. It is helpful to know how many people to expect at each service, so please give us an approximate number of guests who will be coming to church.
Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28.19)
In response to this command, the Christian church has offered baptism to all those who want to be disciples (followers) of Jesus. Since early days, Christians have brought their children for baptism, in the belief that they are part of God’s family and praying that when they are older they will make their own decision to follow Jesus. When that time comes they may wish to be confirmed by a bishop.
The Baptism service is focused on a decision to follow the Christian faith, which parents make on behalf of their child or which adults make in their own right. You can be baptised at any age.
If you want your child to be baptised, following Thanksgiving, we will ask a church member to call and see you. She or he will go through the baptism service with you and explain it more fully. We think it is important that you know what promises you are making before you have your child baptised. This is part of the service:
Baptisms at St Philip’s are held during a Family Service (at 10.30 a.m. on the 4thor 5thSunday of the month) or at 12.30 p.m. on the 1stor 3rdSundays of the month. We will agree a date with you. The person who visited you will be at the service to welcome your child into the church family. You can choose godparents to support you and your child; they should have been baptised themselves (and, preferably, confirmed). There is a tradition that you have two godparents of the same gender as your child and one of the opposite gender, but you can have as many as you feel appropriate. Godparents have no legal status (e.g. as guardians).
Keeping in touch
Following a Thanksgiving or Baptism at St Philip’s we will keep in touch with you. Your child will receive anniversary cards and you will also receive invitations to services and events from time to time. Information about services is published in the Parish News, on noticeboards and on-line. We have groups for children meeting most Sundays, or we make provision for children within the morning service at 10.30 a.m. If you do not live in the parish of Kelsall, or not near enough to attend church regularly, we encourage you to get in touch with a local church so that they can support you in helping your child take her or his place within the life and worship of Christ’s Church.
We hope that you and your child will find a welcome at St Philip’s
St Philip’s, Kelsall
Chester Road, Kelsall