People have different reasons for wanting a service for their child, whether it is to celebrate the birth, publicly give thanks to God, or introduce the child to the life and worship of the Christian church. There are two types of service and either might be appropriate. It all depends on what you want to express and to commit yourselves to.
The thanksgiving service gives you an opportunity to express thanks to God for the gift of your child, to ask for his blessing and to pray for his help as parents. You will be presented with a book of Bible stories and a certificate to mark the occasion.
You can ask people to act as sponsors; this is a similar role to that of godparent. Thanksgiving is different from a baptism in that no water is used and the parents may or may not wish to commit themselves explicitly to Jesus Christ and to participating in the life and worship of the church. Thanksgiving could be a good option if you’re uncertain about making the baptism promises. It may be followed by baptism at a later date when you have seen more of the church’s life and been able to give the baptism promises more thought.
The baptism service is for those who want to make a more specific Christian commitment in the upbringing of their children. In the service, parents and godparents make a public declaration of their Christian faith. They also promise, among other things, to help their child `to take their place within the life and worship of Christ’s church’. In other words, parents promise to come to church regularly, and bring their child with them so that they are leading the way for their child to have an active participation in church family life. The baptism itself symbolises the new start that God gives to those who join the community of Christ’s followers, his church.
The Church of England has churches all over England, and each has its own parish. This is a bit like the catchment area of a school or doctor’s surgery.
As a parish church in the Church of England we offer Baptisms to those who live in our parish or to members of our church.
If you don’t live in Knowle’s parish and don’t regularly come to Sunday services, we are able to offer a Thanksgiving service.
To find contact details for your local parish church, go to the Church of England website.
How do I arrange a Baptism or Thanksgiving in Knowle?
First, attend the Baptism and Thanksgiving Introduction morning, where you’ll have a chance to come to our 9.15am service and afterwards we’ll meet and give a brief outline of how we do baptisms and thanksgivings at Knowle Parish Church, and you can meet some of the clergy and baptism team. These take place on the first Sunday of each month.
Time to think – it’s worth spending some time having a look at the Baptism and Thanksgiving services and deciding which one is most appropriate for you. If you live outside Knowle’s parish and don’t come to church regularly with us, we would be happy to offer a Thanksgiving service, but if you’d like a Baptism then, you can contact your local Parish Church via http://www.achurchnearyou.com/.
After coming to the Introduction morning, Baptism or Thanksgiving can now be arranged with the Parish Office. The Parish Office will be able to arrange a baptism preparation evening, and booking the actual baptism/thanksgiving date.
Home Visit – You’ve come to visit us, and now it’s our turn to visit you! We have a team of four, and someone will visit every family who are going to have a thanksgiving or baptism service for a child at Knowle Parish Church. This is a chance to chat about Jesus and the Christian faith, and for you to ask questions about Church and what it means to bring up children in the Christian faith. If you’re opting for a thanksgiving service, you’ll have a chance to look through the service during the visit as well.
Baptism Preparation Evening – The baptism service involves much more of a commitment on the part of parents so we ask parents to attend a preparation evening to explore in more detail what lies behind the words and symbols used in the service. We talk about what baptism and the Christian faith are all about as well as the practical details, and look through the promises that parents and Godparents will be making. We meet from 8-9.30pm in a church member’s home and usually there’s tea and cake, and a glass of wine to enjoy – so it’s a relaxed and informal setting. The evening is normally led by one of the clergy, supported by two of the baptism team and between two and four couples are invited to each evening.
Baptisms or Thanksgivings usually happen on the third Sunday of the month. Thanksgivings at 2pm and Baptisms at 3pm. Up to four families take part in each service. The services last about 30 minutes each.
Baptism Welcome – the last part of the baptism service is a ‘welcome’ – where the newly baptised are welcomed into the church family and we do this on the Sunday morning following the baptism service at 9.15am.
Baptism and Thanksgiving preparation are part of Connect, which includes a range of groups for Parents, Carers and children under 5. More about Connect, or see our Facebook page www.facebook.com/knowleconnect.
How can I find out more?
Call the Parish Office: 01564 779123 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org