St Lawrence Church Bidborough

St Lawrence Church, Bidborough

Know God, Show His Love, Grow His Church

Southborough Team

800th Anniversary

Beginnings, Blessings and Baptism


Information for parents of babies and young children

Baptism is the sign of entry into the Christian church. People of any age can be baptised, not just babies and small children. Often it is the choice that parents make on behalf of their baby or small child.

Others may choose to have a blessing or dedication, promising to support their child and leaving the decision for baptism for the child to make when they are older. (A ‘Christening’ is also another word people use in referring to Baptism of a baby or child, but baptism more accurately reflects the meaning of what is happening and reminds us of Jesus' baptism too.)

Baptism signifies a welcome into God's family to grow and learn, with the hope and expectation that he or she will become a part of the Christian community of the church.

The church is happy to baptise a child on the understanding that parents and Godparents will bring the child up with knowledge of what the Christian faith stands for, so that when older the child can make his or her own decision to follow Jesus Christ, with the help of the Holy Spirit. (This is often marked at a Confirmation Service.)

What happens in the Baptism service?

Baptism normally take place within our 11am Sunday morning service. Parents and Godparents will publicly declare their own faith, and make promises on behalf of the baby or child. Older children will make their own simple promises.

They will make declarations about their personal faith and intent regarding the raising and nurturing of the child in the Christian faith through prayer and by example as they accompany them in the way of Jesus Christ.

The minister marks the sign of the cross on the child's forehead, as a reminder of what Jesus has done for each one of us. Water is poured on the child's head, signifying cleansing and renewal by the Holy Spirit, and a candle is given, another symbol of Jesus, the Light of the World.

The church community promise to pray for and support the child and the family on their Christian journey.

Who can be Baptised at St Lawrence Church?

In order to be eligible for a baptism service at St Lawrence Church, you must either live in the Bidborough section of our parish, or be a regular worshipping member of our church, or have a significant and ongoing link with the church.

How do we enquire?

If you would like to enquire about Thanksgiving or Baptism, have a word with Stephen Hills after the service one Sunday or phone him at the rectory. By requesting baptism we assume you are serious about belonging to our church family so coming to church is a natural part of this.

There will be a course of preparation over one or two sessions, usually at your home. Stephen will need to meet the children, especially if they are making their own promises.

It's also good to attend church when there is a baptism so that children know what to expect.

If, after discussion and further thought, you would like to go ahead with a baptism for your child, there will be an application form to complete. Dates will be discussed at this point, but please bear in mind that baptisms must fit into the church's service planning.

It is helpful for us to know how many guests you hope to invite. At most morning services our little church is often close to capacity, so large visiting parties may need careful planning!

If you do not currently attend St Lawrence Church, we do encourage you to start coming to services before you ask about baptism. Indeed this is an important part of preparing for the service and beyond as you make public declarations before God, family, friends and the Church family. It also helps you to experience our church, ways of worship and community, for you to get to know us and likewise for us to start to get to know you.

Service of Thanksgiving, Blessing and Dedication

You may not feel able, in all honesty, to make the promises that are required in the baptism service, but may still want to thank God for the amazing gift of your child. In that case, why not have a Service of Thanksgiving, in which you can thank God for your child and we can pray God's blessing on him or her.

You can still arrange a baptism at any stage later on if you wish to. Again, please speak to Stephen.

Thoughts about applications to local Church Secondary Schools

We are aware of the extra thoughts raised by the entry requirements for local Church schools. (Bennett Memorial Diocesan School and St Gregory's Catholic Comprehensive School) Both publish entry criteria each year involving matters of baptism, church membership, involvement and whether you are regular communicants (confirmed and taking Holy Communion).

If you are not a regular church-goer and you wish to apply for one of these schools, then you will be making decisions about starting to attend church services as your child reaches a certain age (usually year 4). (Schools may require a certain number of years involved with a church)

Our hope is that we can support you in an approach which helps you to feel you are acting in the best interests of your child and family in the decisions you make about coming to Church.

We wish to welcome and support you as you explore what it is to be involved in Church life and meet others who share the Christian faith.

You may be wondering about what you really believe and this is a good opportunity to listen and learn and to question the big questions of life*.

It seems that entry requirements do not necessarily stipulate Baptism, but also recognise the value of the child having been involved in a personal Thanksgiving or Dedication. (Proof of this is required in writing - either a certificate or letter from the vicar.) So please consider the options carefully and do not rush your child into Baptism when a blessing or dedication might be more appropriate for them.

However, after some time of being part of St Lawrence church life and involved in children's groups and activities, your child may wish to make a decision for baptism for him or herself. Integrity and openness is key. Often a child's simple trust and openness to God will lead us forward.

* We offer opportunities to explore the Christian faith through Alpha courses and other initiatives. See separate information.

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Crisis Recovery

The Day Centre would be happy to receive donations of second-hand clean clothes and shoes for their guests (particularly men’s clothing). If you can help please get in touch with Alan Richards on 528916.


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