Baptism – What happens during the service?
The baptism will take place during our main Sunday service at 11.00am, usually on the second Sunday of the month. Having the baptism during the main Sunday service means the wider church family are always present at the service and can welcome your child into the membership of the church. In turn the Church will promise to support and pray for you and your child.
Some parts of the service will be for the whole congregation to join, some will be for you and the godparents only. For the baptism itself, parents and godparents will be asked by the priest to gather near the font, which holds the water used for baptism. The priest will ask the parents and godparents to make declarations on behalf of the child.
A number of important symbols will be used during the service itself:
The sign of the cross – the priest will make the sign of the cross on your child’s forehead, which is like an invisible badge to show that Christians are united with Christ and must not be ashamed to stand up for their faith in him. Parents and Godparents may be invited to sign the cross on the child’s forehead after he or she has done so.
Water – the priest will pour water on your child’s head. Water is a sign of washing and cleansing. In baptism it is a sign of being washed free from sin and beginning a new life with God. Water is a sign of life, but also a symbol of death. When we are baptised our old life is buried in the waters (like drowning) and we are raised to new life with Christ.
Oil – the minister will anoint the child with oil, a sign of the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit. The oil we use at St Augustine’s is blessed by the Bishop of Bristol at a special service held in Bristol Cathedral each year on Maundy Thursday (the Thursday before Easter).
The welcome – the church congregation will say some formal words of welcome to acknowledge that your child has joined the Church and to show how pleased they are to have you among them.
A candle – Jesus is called the light of the world, and you will be given a lighted candle as a reminder of the light which has come into your child’s life. It is up to you, the child’s godparents and the church community to help your child reject the world of darkness and follow a way of life that reflects goodness and light and shares this light with others.