THE CHURCH’S WELCOME OF LITTLE CHILDREN
Baptism is entry into church membership. In this service parents and godparents make solemn promises and declarations which include:
Teaching the child the Christian faith
Living a Christian lifestyle
Active church membership
Baptism usually takes place during the main worship services of the parish on Sundays. 9am at St Linus’ Merlynston and 10.30am at St Matthew’s Glenroy. Only in exceptional circumstances will other times be considered.
Preparation for baptism is important to assist you further in the exploration process and as an aid in understanding the implications of baptism. This will be discussed with you when an appointment is arranged.
For parents who are unable to commit themselves to the above baptismal promises then we suggest a Service of Thanksgiving (see below), which is a joyful expression of thanks to God for the gift of life among family and friends. This service takes place during a main worship service of the parish on Sundays and includes prayers for you and your child, a special blessing and other options, which make this service flexible, personal and meaningful.
Not into ‘A’ Church, but ‘The’ Church
Baptism has been practised by the Church from its earliest days, as a sign of new life in Jesus Christ. In this new life all people are joined as one, since we are not baptised into the Anglican Church, but into Christ’s Church, the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
Baptism is as mysterious as life itself, not a possession but a gift, freely given by God. The one essential thing on the part of the person being baptised is sincere faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. In the case of a child, this response of faith must be made in the name of the child by sponsers and godparents until such time as the child can make it for themselves.
Not private, but communal
Baptism is not just a naming ceremony; it can be a most meaningful occasion for establishing yourselves, your home and family in a right relationship with God. You may have been out of touch with the church; or you may wish to ask about baptism or confirmation for yourself.
Godparents – Sponsors
You will need to consider sponsors/godparents for your child. Parents are the primary sponsors since it is in the home that the primary care and growth takes place, physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual. It is customary to choose others to assist you with the task of encouraging your child to grow in the life of faith. They are helpful reminders that faith is not an individual matter, rather a sharing in the community of Christ. It is best to avoid making this simply a matter of honouring a particular friend or family member. Choose sponsors who will take an active interest in the personal and spiritual nurturing of your child.
How many godparents can I have?
The following is an extract from the Archbishop’s guidelines for baptism:
Each candidate is to have at least one male and one female godparent as sponsor. Sponsors must have received Christian baptism, but need not be Anglican.
Thanksgiving for a Child
The thanksgiving for the gift of a child is based on what Jesus did when people brought children to him. It is for anyone at all. The thanksgiving does not replace baptism but provides you with an opportunity to welcome the arrival of your child with family and friends without any obligation, promises or declarations. Suitable prayers, readings, poems and expressions of affection may be chosen which makes this a flexible service.
The minister receives the child and prays for him/her and the family. No godparents are involved, but friends may act as sponsors if you wish.
There is no requirement for attendance prior to the thanksgiving, although you may find it helpful to attend a service on any given Sunday to get a feel for who we are and what we believe.
In the Father’s love,
the Creator’s love,
In the Son’s love,
the Saviour’s love,
In the Spirit’s love,
the Strengthener’s love,
Three drops of water fall
On your head so small.
A drop to help you walk the earth,
A drop to raise you to the skies,
A drop to show your eternal worth.
Please contact the parish office if you have any further questions or to make an appointment with the Parish Priest.