Baptism marks the beginning of a journey with God, which continues for the rest of our lives - it is the first step in response to God's love for us.
It is a joyful moment when we rejoice in what God has done for us, especially in sending his Son, Jesus, who shows us the Godly way to live our lives, and then dies and rises from death so that our sin (our wrong doing in what we think, say and do) can be completely forgiven.
We welcome for baptism all those who want to begin their life journey with God - as an adult, young person or child. Most baptisms take place in the church using the font, but as an adult there is also the opportunity to be baptised in the local river or pool.
In the baptism service there are three powerful symbols:
Holy Oil - The sign of the cross is made on the forehead with holy oil. It is a symbol of God's anointing: an acknowledgement that we are God's precious child.
Water - Probably the most obvious! Water is a symbol of cleansing (making clean): an acknowledgement that our sin 'dies' because of what Jesus did on the cross, and we are made clean to start a new life with him.
Light - Each candidate receives their own baptism candle. During the service the candle is lit from the pascal candle (the symbol of Jesus who is the Light of the World): an acknowledgement that the light of Jesus is in us and that that light shines out to all around us.
What do I need to do if I, or someone in my family wants to be baptised?
Contact our Administrator in the Benefice Office, who will give you details of who you can meet with.
During the meeting you will be asked some questions and the minister will complete an application form. These details will be used to complete the church's baptism register and individual's names will be used in prayers.
You will also talk about your understanding of baptism, look at the promises which are made and talk through the practical issues such as date, time etc.
When does baptism happen?
Part of baptism is about being welcomed by the church community into what we call 'the fellowship of faith' (the gathered local community who believe in God who is Father, Son & Holy Spirit).
The church community has a responsibility to encourage, care and pray for all those who are baptised and during the service they will make a promise to do exactly that. It is for this reason that baptism takes place during the main Sunday morning service.
There are also opportunities during the Easter Saturday Vigil of Light service; within the annual Confirmation Service; and also in certain cases as part of a wedding. Hadleigh is a large community and baptism will often have two or more candidates on the same occasion.
Godparents & Sponsors
When children are baptised they need the help and encouragement of adults, so that they can begin their journey of faith.
The role of a Godparent is to do what the job title says - to parent a child in God. It is for this reason that Church Law requires that godparents should be baptised and confirmed to demonstrate that they too are on a journey of faith with God.
It is usual to have three godparents, two of the same sex as the child and one of the opposite sex, but to have one godfather and one godmother is sufficient if there are problems in finding three godparents. Parents may be godparents to their own children, provided that the child has at least one other godparent. At least three weeks before the baptism you will need to give the minister the name and address of each godparent and let them know if they are baptised and confirmed.
As an adult, each candidate should choose one or more sponsors. Their role is the same as that of a godparent, and it should be someone who the candidate respects and is also on their journey of faith.
After the service, candidates will receive a certificate of baptism and each godparent will also have a card to remind them of their responsibility. Candidates also take home their baptism candle and it is a brilliant symbol which can be used by parents to light the candle on the anniversary of a child's baptism and tell them what happened on that special day. Our baptism team will send a card from the church on the anniversary.
Being baptised is very special. You are welcome to take photographs after the service, but please do not use flash photography during the service. If you are using a professional photographer they must see or contact the minister before the day.
Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child
Sometimes parents are not ready to make the promises of baptism and we would love to have the opportunity to join with you in giving thanks to God for your child. Just speak to one of the clergy or a member of the ministry team.