We are delighted you want to know more about Christian baptism.
Baptism is sometimes called Christening: - literally to Christ-en: to make Christ's. Both words refer to the same ceremony, which usually takes place in the church during Sunday worship.
You probably share our belief that life is a precious gift of God that deserves to be celebrated and we’d be delighted to be a part of your celebration.
Baptism is understood to be a way of introduction to a life of faith and the Christian Church. It's like coming in through the front door and being welcomed instead of standing outside! Your child may not understand what is happening, but the rest of us recognise the hopes being expressed by parents, family, friends, congregation and God.
Here are some questions and comments made to ministers:
Will God still love my youngster if s/he's not "done"?
Of course He will. God is the lover of all humanity, even the ones we feel are unlovable. God’s love is universal and eternal. Through you He gave your child the great gift of life and He loves them just as much as you do.
I thought Baptism was about giving a baby a name.
Your baby already has a name…you gave them that name in love soon after, or even before, they were born.
If anything were to happen to them and they hadn’t been baptised ....
Don't worry so!
If we can understand that children are not of an age of responsibility; Don’t you think that the merciful loving God knows that too? God loves us, baptised or not. God is more interested in helping us than judging us !
......but Granny said.... Grannies and friends say lots of things about church - 40% of which is dubious if not plain untrue.
Before we go further, make a date to meet your local minister when you can ask all your questions about faith and church, and we can answer them face to face.
In the Church of Scotland celebration of baptism we sprinkle some water on a baby's head as a symbol or sign, but in some churches adults actually immerse themselves in a pool of water - sometimes even in a river or the sea .
Baptism is a word from the Greek language, (the language of Christian New Testament), and it means "to wash", so the minister puts some ordinary water on your child's forehead as a symbol of washing away of sin” .
"Sin!" there's another of these churchy words that we forget to explain, and I can hear you say.. "these babes haven’t been out their pram...they don't know what sin is !" ...and you are right, … and sometimes neither do we.
Stop thinking of sin as something bad that we do and begin thinking of it as a gap that exists between us and God ... or a gap between what we are and what God would like us to be; and can help us to be! Baptism is about closing the gap.
Another church word we use is Sacrament: Church-speak for an action which Jesus was involved in during his life and which He instructed the Church to continue. It is also an event where, as well as something visible happening, we believe that God is at work, blessing the participants.
Baptism is an act of faith, and involves belief in the power of God.
There are many reasons why people have their children baptised; but there is only one good reason. That is, that parents recognize God’s importance, and wish to make a commitment to raise their child in a Christian family, giving them the chance to learn about the Love of God in Jesus Christ, so that they might dedicate their family life to following the ways and teaching of Christ, and want God’s help to do so.
We are able to tell the children of all this later, and help them to understand and fulfil these hopes..
God promises to help those who seek His assistance, and as a way of sealing this, we invite parents to make the following commitment: to which you could say either “I will” or “We will”
"Having faith in God, recognising Jesus as Saviour: and wanting “the best” for your child, will you, relying upon the Grace of God, raise your child to know the love of God, and with prayer and example will you teach them the truths and duties of the Christian faith and the ways of Christ and His Church?"
This is a simple statement of faith, made by one or both of a child's parents, concerning the God who created all things, and is the Lord of all life. It is you saying: "I'm a Christian, and try to follow Jesus' teaching. I believe in His promises to us".
At baptism, a child is recognised as a member of the Church, and hopefully will have a strong relationship with God to sustain them through life. The Church is here to enable people to express their faith, get the most out of life with God and to assist in times of crisis and celebration. The Holy Spirit of God (once described by a child as ‘God out and about’) works through the Church and its members.
It should be fun as well as a responsibility as parents to ensure your child is given the best opportunities in life including, learning about Christian faith, in the same was they do about the rest of life.
You know, children learn by example. No amount of formal teaching can compare with the living faith of Mum and Dad in action. You'll not be alone though. The congregation also make a promise to try to set a good example for your family, and provide you with a secure community;
Know too that God will give you strength to meet challenges when you ask Him.
If you want to know more about the Christian faith and the scope of God's love and power, as well as the opportunities that can open up when you live life with God, ask the minister about opportunities that exist to discuss Christian living with other young families.
It may well be that, as you raise your child....you could be doing so with others and all be learning and supporting each other.
If you are not sure whether this commitment is for your family, then we are also happy to arrange a blessing for your child, in the church, with no strings attached – just celebrating life and saying: “Thank God for life !!”