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Christening & Baptism

By Douglas

Reading this, you probably have an interest in baptism.

This page will start to answer any questions that you have, and help you decide how you want to proceed.
It will not answer every question, we are all unique. At the end we point out who you can talk to for more information and to arrange a christening service for your child.
Beautiful Christening

Why might you decide to have a Christening service?

So many reasons, so many people, and only you know why you are interested in baptising your child, and yet many people share a combination of reasons and delights.
Maybe it starts with the awe, the glorious magnificence of a new life, created by love and nurtured by devotion, that beautiful life-changing radiance of a new family member.
This alone is worth celebrating for many, worth blessing the new baby, worth honouring the parents or parent, worth pausing for a moment to appreciate a very special moment of life and adventure.
Of course there is also us, the committed Christians, who want to introduce their child into their personal community of faith, and to underline that we are all God’s Children, the littlest upwards. At the same time we pass our religion down the generations, giving a grounding in Christian life as they grow.
And we also celebrate the presence of God in all our lives, the Divine love growing and nurturing the soul of the newborn and their family.
Did You Know?
Did you know?
Did You Know
We use the term christening and baptism as describing the same thing nowadays, though to be very exact the baptism is the act of blessing the child with the blessed font water, and christening describes the whole service.

Reverend Steven Cook, Northmoor Ministries

Then there are some who are honouring a family tradition, a special tradition valued by parents and grandparents; this deep family, personal history and love entwining through the ages, this cherished connection to place, custom, kin and ancestors, very Devon, very precious, totally wonderful.
Others are growing in spirit in their own way, desiring a connection to our two thousand year old spiritual tradition, our community of the ages, of the wonderers, the devoted, the followers of Christ, without donning the dress of our faith.

What is a Christening Service?

At the core of the Christening service is the Baptism, the act of sprinkling a child or adult with blessed water (sometimes anointing with oil too) and welcoming them into the community of the Faith in the name of the Holy Trinity: God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
All this during a special ritual, either as part of our normal weekly Sunday worship or in a separate service entirely.
Our churches belong to all of us, Christian or not, and we offer christening to all of you and your children.
And of course it is free, it is our joy to perform this sacred rite.

So, what does baptism actually mean?

Baptism is a simple ceremony with a meaning two thousand years deep… It is about God and us, and how we place our faith in the Divine.
Notable Quotes
Notable Quotes…
Notable Quotes
In the ritual of baptism… the truth of the Christian identity: We are people who stand totally exposed before evil and death and declare them powerless against love.

Rachel Held Evans

In the service the adults are asked if they ‘turn to Christ’ and they declare individually ‘I turn to Christ’.
And following this, they declare of each aspect of God, the Holy Trinity, ‘I believe and trust in him’.
For all involved, particularly the candidates but also parents, godparents and sponsors, it is a joyful moment when we make serious promises and declare faith; faith that only with God in our lives can we live a joyful and serious life of love, prayer and goodness.
And the act of baptism welcomes the child or adult into our community, as well as being a commitment from the parents and godparents to guide the baptised through life in a Christian manner.
Along with the wider community of the church and friends promising support and prayer for the future.
A great gift for a new born of any age.

Who can be baptised?

Everybody who lives in one of our Northmoor Ministry parishes has the right to baptism at their local church, either for their child or themselves, for free (free means free means free, trust us).
Everybody who lives outside the parish but is on the Electoral Roll of the desired church is welcome as well (if you are not sure, then you probably are not, but just ask).
And when we say everybody we mean every single person, no exceptions; married, unmarried, Christian, not Christian, regardless of ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, personal circumstances… Every single person.
Faith Guide
Faith Guide

One reason why baptism is so important to us is that Christ was the very first to be baptised, as here in the Gospel of Mark 1:9-11

“In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptised by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Of any age too, from a very young baby to a golden oldie.
If you do not live in one of our parishes or are not on one of our church’s electoral rolls then please just ask, we still might be able to arrange a christening service for you.

Your child will need godparents

Every child needs three godparents, two of the child’s sex and one of the opposite sex. Two will do at a pinch, and even one will do if both parents want to stand as godparents as well.
The godparents in principle should be baptised, unlike the parents who do not need to be; however, life being what it is and modern times what they are, this requirement varies church by church. Chat with your vicar about this if your chosen godparents are not baptised.
Godparents can be friends or relatives, old or young, but ultimately they are there to help guide your child through life. Take a look at this page for more info.

What happens in a baptism service?

Before anything, the parents and the vicar will meet some days before to go over the service. Importantly, while the core is the same, each church does things slightly differently.
The service will last about thirty minutes, it is informal, it is friendly, it is relaxed.
Usually the service takes place as part of our regular Sunday worship but if you want a special, separate service then that can be arranged. Often that is more appropriate if there are a lot of personal guests.
Faith Guide
Faith Guide
Christians have always stressed the importance and value of children, because we follow the teachings of Christ
“… Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Matthew 19:14

During the service the parents and the godparents will make various declarations whilst standing around the font and the congregation will also join in at various points. Your baby will be sprinkled with the blessed font water and welcomed into the family of God.
The vicar will usually hold your baby at this point, though if you prefer to cuddle him or her yourself then that is usually fine. We do not place the child fully into the water, and everybody is treated with care and kindness.
There is a more detailed outline of the christening service here, described very clearly.

Who do we talk to about arranging a christening?

The parish priest. Below you will find contact details for each reverend in our team. They will answer all your questions and look after all your needs.
It is better to make arrangements at least six weeks before the christening date, but your priest can talk about this with you when you contact him.
And of course, as ever, you are so welcome to meet and chat and then make the decision that suits you best.
Look after yourself and if your little one is around, give them a hug from us 😊
Reverend Stephen Cook

Team Rector: Reverend Prebendary Stephen Cook

Reverend Adrian Brook

Team Vicar: Reverend Adrian Brook

Reverend Leigh Winsbury

Team Vicar: Reverend Leigh Winsbury

Reverend Gillian George

Team Curate: Reverend Gillian George