Baptism is a service of welcome into the Christian family. If you are thinking about baptism (sometimes called christening) for your child or for yourself, I hope the information on this page will help. Please feel free to phone or email me to talk further.
WHO CAN BE BAPTIZED AT SEAL?
If you live within our parish boundaries or are on our electoral roll (church membership roll), your child can be baptized at Seal. In baptism parents and godparents promise to help their children grow spiritually. Spiritual growth includes learning to love and be loved, to care for others and to develop a sense of wonder and gratitude for the gift of life.
Spiritual growth isn’t just about “churchy” things, but being a part of the church community is one way of encouraging children to grow in this way, and baptism involves a commitment to "help them take their place within the life and worship of Christ's Church." If you aren't already a regular churchgoer, I would like you to come to church at least two or three times before your child is baptized if it is at all possible, so that you feel at home here and get a sense of what the church is about.
We welcome children at all our services. There is a special place at the back of the church where they can look at books, or play quietly during services if they get restless. On the first and second Sundays of the month school age children meet in the church hall for their own activities during part of the service. On the third Sunday of the month we have an All-Age service which is especially suitable for families with children. There are toilets in the church hall.
If you don't live in our parish your child can only be baptized here with the permission of your own parish priest. There is a letter about baptism for those outside the parish, which you can download here. Please contact me first to establish that I am able and willing to conduct the baptism, then visit your own parish priest and ask him or her to sign the form at the bottom of the letter. If you aren't sure where the parish boundaries lie, I will be happy to advise you or you can find out from this website.
I encourage people to be baptized in their own parish church. This helps them to build a relationship with other members of that church who live locally, and to be aware of groups and activities which that church organizes to help and support them as they bring up their children.
Adults and older children can also be baptized – ask me for more information about this if you are interested.
It is recommended that your child should have at least three godparents (traditionally two of the same sex as the child and one of the opposite sex.) However, you don't have to stick to this pattern and can have more than three godparents if you like. To have more than six would be unusual.
Godparents should be adults, or at least older teenagers. A useful rule of thumb is that they need to be old enough to be responsible parents if they are to be responsible godparents. Sometimes I have requests for older brothers or sisters to be godparents, but unless they are adults this is usually not appropriate and I would rather involve them in the service in other ways - for example, holding the candle.
Godparents should be baptized themselves, and preferably confirmed, but provided they have considered the promises they are to make carefully, and are happy to make them, I can be flexible about this. Baptism is a good opportunity for both parents and Godparents to think about their own faith and commitment, since both will be making wide-ranging and serious promises during the service.
LONE PARENTS AND UNMARRIED COUPLES
Baptism expresses God's love for your child and his unconditional welcome for him or her. We welcome you in the same spirit – whatever form your family takes. If you are separated from your child’s other parent, however, you should think about discussing the baptism with him or her to make sure he or she is happy for it to take place.
TIMES AND DATES
Baptisms can take place either during our main morning service or at another time of day. I am happy to discuss what would be best for you and to be flexible.
Baptism is free. There will be a collection during or after the service, if you and your guests would like to contribute to the running costs of the church, but there is no charge for baptism.
PHOTOS AND VIDEOS
Photos and videos may not be taken during the service, but we are very happy for you to take them before and after the service.
To book or make enquiries about Baptism at Seal, please phone or email me, The Revd Anne Le Bas – 01732 762955. I will arrange to fill in the paperwork with you and to visit you at home to talk about the service.
SUNDAY WORSHIP AT SEAL
10am and 6.30pm – Come and join us!
The church is normally open every day during daylight hours – drop in at any time.
WHAT IS BAPTISM ABOUT?
Baptism is a very ancient service. It is the way in which people join the church, and it means making promises, setting priorities, and being prepared to let God change you. At its heart, it tells us about three things - Being, Belonging and Believing.
There is a passage in the Bible in which God speaks to his people, who are going through difficult times. "Do not be afraid. I have called you by name. You are mine." Although the words are 2500 years old, Christians believe that they still have something to say to us. They tell us that every person is unique and special, known and loved by God.
Think about your child. What do you already know about him/her?
What kind of person is he/she?
What are your hopes and fears for him/her?
Being a Christian means belonging to the family of the church.
Think about the groups you belong to - your family, your workplace, and your community.
Do you like to be in the middle of all that is happening, or do you tend to hover at the edge?
How do you feel about being part of the church? How will you help your child feel that he/she belongs to the Christian family?
At Seal, in addition to our Sunday Worship we also have a Sunday School (4+ years), Junior Choir (7+ years) and a monthly “Faith and Fun” session for the under-fives and their carers, with songs, stories and activities (4th Friday of each month in the church hall, 1.30-2.30pm) . These are all ways in which you can get involved, and help your child to be involved in the life of the church. You can find out more about what we have to offer to children and families here. Why not come along and join us?
During the service, you will be making promises both for yourself and for your child.
How much do you know about the beliefs that are important for Christians?
This isn't a test - just some questions to help you know what you think and feel about Christian faith.
What do you think and feel about...?
God the Father
Christians believe that God made us and cares about us just as a loving parent would.
How do you feel about your children? That's how God feels about you.
God the Son
Christians believe that Jesus is God, revealing himself in flesh and blood, like us, so that we can know how much God loves us. If you want to know more about Jesus' life, try reading the Gospel of Mark in the New Testament of the Bible. It's not very long, and it gives a vivid picture of Jesus.
God the Holy Spirit.
Christians believe that God is with us here and now, involved in our lives every day. Have you ever felt that God was especially close to you? Where and how did this happen? What effect did it have on you?
We will talk more about Christian belief when I visit before the Baptism, but please feel free to email or phone me with any questions you may have.