Baptisms

Baptism is the rite by which a person becomes a follower of Jesus Christ and a member of the people of God which is His Church. Historically in the Anglican Church, when applied to babies or young children, this is also known as 'christening'.

Although we welcome every enquiry with regards to baptism, there are a number of requirements which we set out in order to ensure that those applying fully understand what is involved.

In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus gives this final instruction to His disciples:

"Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19ff)

Clearly then, we can see that some kind of personal decision and promise was expected of those seeking baptism, namely, to become disciples or apprentices of Jesus and his teaching, alongside a willingness to actively put that teaching into practice. When such disciples meet together, this is known as 'Church'. The building is irrelevant. It is who you meet with, rather than where, that constitutes the church. 

In the first place, this obviously was intended for adults. Who else could, freely, decide whether this was something they wanted or not. However, in later centuries the church gave permission for believing parents to have their children baptised too.

Sadly, as sometimes happens, this fell into abuse and many children were christened even when their parents did not practice their faith or even, in some cases, believe in God. We believe this is not honouring to God, consistent with the teachings of Jesus, and would want to ensure that the good things that God wants to give his children are not abused or misused in any way. We, therefore, offer several options for those enquiring about the baptism of their children.

First, for those who do not want to commit themselves to becoming a follower of Jesus Christ and be a part of His church, we suggest a Service of Thanksgiving in which readings and prayers are given thanking God for His love and praying for the child and his or her parents as they bring them up and accompany them through life. This can be arranged after the main morning service on a Sunday around 12.00.

Second, for those who are really serious about wanting to become Christians and followers of Jesus, and want to bring their children up in the Christian faith, we ask that, as a sign of that intention, those enquiring join us on Sunday morning worship for several months. Alongside this, there will be preparation classes where the Christian faith is simply explained. If you are interested please email the Vicar on stjamesuplands@googlemail.com and he will send you an application form and arrange a meeting.

We regret that we can no longer have an open policy with regards to the baptism of children but hope that either of the above options will be helpful to you in thinking through what it is you really want for you and your family.