At St Mark’s we are delighted to baptise people who have never been baptised before, and want to experience that in a pool by full immersion. We offer that once or twice a year.
This is the best way to enter into the experience of what is the sign of the covenant God makes with you.
If you are thinking of bringing your child for baptism at St Mark’s, we are delighted to make that journey with you!
There is information below for parents and godparents of small children who will probably not prefer full immersion!
What is baptism?
Baptism is a beautiful gift from God – a sign of new birth, of complete forgiveness and acceptance, of the hope of eternal life and of belonging to a loving community. We hope you will experience all these things through the baptism.
For you it’s a chance to give thanks for your child, to start your child on the journey of faith, to renew your love for God.
For your child it’s a beginning of life in God, a belonging to a worldwide church community and a light of hope through life and death.
For your church it’s an opportunity – to love, welcome, support and pray for you and your child.
It’s a physical thing (water), but it reveals a spiritual reality – God’s love and forgiveness.
This is called a sacrament. In it we remember how God commits Himself to us, and we promise to live our lives for Him
If you are thinking about baptism, we would encourage you to come along on a Sunday to get a feel for the church community. Our welcomers would love to meet you and point you in the right direction
The next thing is to talk to one of the clergy team about which type of service you would like (baptism or thanksgiving) and at which service you are able to have it take place. We have regular open sessions on a Sunday afternoon, or can be contacted through the office. There are baptisms on the fourth Sunday of each month at 1pm. Children are then welcomed on the 3rd Sunday of the following month at our 10.30am service.
There will be two home visits from a member of our baptism visiting team. We will give you information about the baptism and the ministries of St. Mark’s and offer prayer.
There will be one meeting with a member of the clergy at which we will talk through the service with you. Godparents are very welcome to join us.
We have lots of children’s groups and toddler groups. We’d be delighted if you joined in!
There is an annual Baptism picnic in early summer for all the families who have attended baptisms in the previous 12 months.
Symbols and what they mean
There are some beautiful, rich symbols in the service.
Water. A sign of being completely clean – forgiven, guilt-free, restored. It’s also a sign that we shall die but then be raised – just as Jesus rose from the dead. We live forever!
Cross. A sign of death, a sign of pain. But ultimately a sign of LOVE. Jesus died because he loves us, and took all our brokenness and self-centred woundedness.
Candle. Jesus Christ - the Light of the World. The baptism candle reminds us that the light of Christ has entered the child’s life. We pray that the light of God’s love will shine out through the life of each baptised person.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between Baptism and Christening?
There is no difference. Both refer to the same service.
What about Godparents?
It is usual to have between two and four Godparents who must be baptised and ideally, confirmed. Godparents should be mature enough to understand their special role of encouraging your child’s spiritual life.
When and where will the Baptism take place?
The Baptism will usually take place at 1pm on the fourth Sunday of the month. The Baptism may take place at a service when other children are also being baptised.
How much does Baptism cost?
Nothing - there is no charge for Baptism. Some families like to leave an offertory or thanksgiving and a plate is left out for this purpose. This is a purely voluntary gift.
What if I can’t, in all conscience, make the promises and declarations of faith in the baptism service?
No one should feel pressured into saying things they don’t mean. If you are not comfortable with the promises of baptism you may prefer the Service of Thanksgiving and Blessing. In it you can give thanks to God for the gift of their child, without making an ongoing commitment. If one of your godparents does not feel able to make the promises, they can act as a “sponsor” – standing with you at the baptism, but not under obligation to make any public statement of faith.
Will I be prepared for the Baptism?
Yes! The preparation for the Baptism may be a marvellous opportunity for you to ask questions and consolidate your own faith. It will always be your choice as to whether you have a Baptism or Service of Thanksgiving.
I am a single parent. Can I have my baby baptised?
Definitely! You will be given a friendly welcome at St Mark’s. God welcomes each child and every person who comes to him.