3 General Information
A number of 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. This 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.
The priests says: ‘Christ claims you for his own. Receive the sign of the cross. Do not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified.’
The priest will invite you and the godparents to sign the cross on the child’s forehead after he has.
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.
The priest uses a shell to pour the water on the child’s head. This is an old symbol of a special journey called a pilgrimage. People who went on these journeys were called pilgrims. They wore shells to show that they were pilgrims. The child being baptised is on a sort of journey through their lives. They are pilgrims too.
Anointing and Robing
After baptism with water, the priest will wrap the child in a white ‘robe’ and anoint him/her with a highly fragrant oil. This is a sign of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and becoming part of the royal family of God, as this is the same oil used to crown Kings and Queens.
The priest says: ‘May God, who has received you by baptism into his Church, pour upon you the riches of his grace, that within the company of Christ’s pilgrim people you may daily be renewed by his anointing Spirit, and come to the inheritance of the saints in glory’
Jesus is called the light of the world. A large candle will be lit in the church and you will be given a lighted candle at the end of the service 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.
When did Baptism start
Jesus was baptised in the river Jordan. This was a turning point in his life (you can read the story in the Bible: at the beginning of Mark’s Gospel in the New Testament). Jesus told his followers to baptize others as a sign that they had turned away from their old life, and begun a new life as Christ’s disciples, members of his Body, having been assured of God’s forgiveness.
It won’t necessarily be like this: Fr David knows what he is doing!
The church belongs to all the people of God – the children just as much as the adults – and they are welcome at any service.
It is sometimes nerve wracking for parents, though, if they are worried about how their children will behave, and what will happen if they get restless. Here are some tips from those who have brought their own children to church and survived!
Children like to be able to see what is going on. The temptation of many parents is to sit at the back, but often children are happier and feel more involved if they are at the front. If they want to stand or sit that is fine.
Children, like adults, take a while to feel at home in new surroundings. They will soon pick up, from you and from the other people in church, when it is time to stand and sing and when to sit and listen or kneel and pray.
Bring some quiet toys and books.
If children become restless, don’t hesitate to take them for a wander, perhaps into the Church gardens then come back again.
Around Church there are candles, lecturns and other things that might cause injury, Please keep an eye on them if they go for a wander. It is often better to let small children wander (and wonder) rather than trying to tie them down bored in a pew.