What is baptism?
Baptism with water is an outward, visible sign of the cleansing from sin that comes through personal faith in the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. It signifies union with Christ and membership of the community of his people. We believe that baptism is for all those who profess faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the children of believing parents.
Baptism of children
When parents choose to have their child baptised they are saying that they wish them to grow up knowing Jesus as the Lord of their life and their Saviour from sin. It is our prayer that every child baptised at Emmanuel will come to love, trust and follow the Lord Jesus in the years ahead.
The baptism of children is often called ‘Christening’ although at Emmanuel we prefer the term ‘Baptism’ because it’s the term the Bible uses. Getting a child baptised doesn’t make them a Christian – that is a decision your child will have to make once they are older.
In the baptism service, parents and godparents thank God for his gift of life, promise to start their child on the journey to Christian faith and ask for the church’s support. For your child, baptism marks the start of the journey to Christian faith, which involves turning away from selfishness and sin, trusting in Christ and becoming a member of the local and worldwide church family.
If you are thinking of having a child baptised, the first thing to do is to start coming to church.
Why come to church?
It’s important to come to church for a number of reasons.
In the baptism service you will promise to bring your child to church and be part of the church family with them. Coming to church before baptism will help you get to know us and what is involved. You will want to know whether ours is a church family that you want yourself and your child to be part of.
It also helps us to get to know you. In the baptism service the whole church family promises that they will welcome your child and pray for them.
Our Sunday service is at 10:30am every week. There is a crèche for babies and toddlers, and a Sunday Club for older children. Our crèche and Sunday Club leaders will look after and teach your children so that you can enjoy the service.
We ask that you commit to coming along to services for a couple of months to help you get a feel for things.
Our standard practice for all those who would like a child baptised is to spend a number of weeks looking at the life and teaching of Jesus Christ in a very informal way. We ask you to do this so that you can work out whether or not you believe what you will be asked to declare in the baptism service.
Once you are confident that the baptism service represents your own convictions about Jesus we can then discuss a date for the baptism to take place.
If, however, you do not feel comfortable making the statements and promises involved in baptism, but would still like to say “thank you” to God for your child, then you might want to consider a Service of Thanksgiving. In this service, you thank God for the gift of your child and he or she is prayed for. You do not make the same promises as in the baptism service. If you do choose to have a thanksgiving for your child, they may also be baptised at a later date.
What is the parents’ responsibility?
When children are baptised, their parents are asked to declare their own Christian faith and to raise the child with a clear understanding of the Christian message. They should also encourage them to become an active member of the church family.
What is a godparent?
Godparents make the same promises as parents. Godparents promise to pray and support the child and to help the parents to bring up the child in the Christian faith. It is an important and responsible role. The tradition is to have three godparents – two of the same sex as the child and one of the opposite sex. However, other numbers are permissible.
Godparents can be family members or friends. However, it is important that you choose people who will take an active interest in your child’s Christian upbringing and will pray for them. Godparents should be baptised themselves. Parents can also be godparents. If you need further advice please ask us.