Baptism and christening are two different words for the same thing. From the earliest days of the Christian Church, baptism has been the way in which people become Christians and members of the Church. The Gospels tell us that Jesus Himself was baptised by John the Baptist in the river Jordan and that Jesus taught His disciples to go out into the world and baptise. Jesus teaches His people that all who would enter his kingdom must be born again of water and the Spirit. Baptism is the sign and seal of this new birth. Baptism can happen for anyone who wants to commit their life to Jesus or whose parents want to bring their children up as Christians. Anyone from newly born to over 100 years old can be baptised.
Those who are baptised must be nurtured in faith, sustained by prayer, and welcomed into the worshipping and serving life of the Church and later be brought to Confirmation by the Bishop. Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist (Holy Communion), together express the:
- turning away from darkness and sin,
- the turning to Christ and giving our lives to Him,
- the washing or immersion in the waters of baptism,
- the laying on of hands by the Bishop
- the participation in the Eucharistic family of the Church.
Water is poured over the head of the candidate for baptism three times in the name of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The act of baptism signifies our participation in the death of Jesus and in his Resurrection. As he died and was buried, we symbolically go down into the water of baptism with him. And as he rose from the dead, we symbolically come away from the water in his risen power, made new.
The Church provides for all to be baptized in the hope and trust that the local church together with parents and godparents, in the case of infant baptism, will surround them with a living faith which will sustain them throughout their lives. The Church also provides for those who come to the Christian life anew, supporting them, informing, teaching and encouraging them as they receive the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Baptism is only the beginning and marks the first step along a life-long journey. Throughout this journey, if we allow Him, Jesus will transform us through His Holy Spirit for the better. If we remain faithful to Jesus through lives of prayer, worship, reading of scripture, receiving communion, and being around other Christians, we will be amazed at what He can do. But there will be many bumps and difficulties along the way. That is why we need our church family around us, whether you are thinking of baptism yourself or are wanting your child to be baptised. We are here for each other as we journey together a disciples of Jesus Christ who is our captain, brother, rescuer, and friend.
If you are considering giving your life to Jesus, or are wanting to bring your children up as Christians, or just simply want to have a chat about faith and early steps that you might want to take, do not hesitate to contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 01492 541615. Alternatively you can contact our mission area leader on email@example.com or ring him on 01492 473252