The parish operates an ‘open’ baptism policy i.e. baptism is usually available to those who apply. Baptism calls for a commitment from all parties involved. It is a responsibility that we as the Church take seriously. We would there respectfully ask that those who come seeking baptism realise that it is more than just a ‘rite of passage’. A lifetime commitment to the Christ and his Church is being asked of the person to be baptized, the parents, Godparents, family and friends and indeed the whole family of the Church.
Baptisms usually takes place in the church of the parish where the family is resident and were ever possible it is offered on the day of your choice, although the timing may be determined by other commitments of the day.
If there is a connection with one of the parishes within our benefice, but you live else where, then consent must be obtained from the Vicar in whose parish you are resident. This is only a matter of courtesy and respect.
Likewise, if you wish to have your child baptised in another parish other than our own, permission is usually given without any angst. An open invitation is given to bring your child to our parish after the baptism so that we could include your family into the wider family of the Church in the area that you reside.
We do not wish to give an impression of being ‘stiff and starchy’ and baptisms are usually carried out with a certain informality. However, this does not mean that we lessen or negate the gravity of what is taking place. We rejoice with you at the addition to your lives and family of new individuals, but by coming to baptism you are making the statement that you wish to be part of a wider family of the Church and our rejoicing would be made all the more complete by your continuing participation within that family.
Whilst Baptism and Confirmation may be seen as separate entities, they are really different stages of the one process and affirmation of being united with Christ and his Church. The promises at an infants’ baptism are made on behalf of the child ~ and so there is a hiatus in the process before the child comes of age to make the profession of faith for themselves.
This is not really appropriate for adults who have the maturity to make the promises for themselves. Therefore the baptism of an adult can, and perhaps should, be made at a Confirmation service just prior to the candidate also being Confirmed. This is in tradition with the ancient Church.
Those who come for baptism as an adult would be encouraged to make the whole step as it should be. In the past candidates have undertaken a ‘Growing together in Christ’ course where they have met with other people seeking to deepen their understanding and faith. This has been beneficial as it encourages an engagement with others who may have slightly different ideas or traditions to those of the home parish.
The Rector would be pleased to discuss these issues with anyone. Contact him here
St Botolphs Church