What is baptism?

In baptism, you as parents are thanking God for his gift of life, deciding to start your child on the journey of faith, and asking for the support of the Church.

For your child, baptism marks the start of a journey of faith which involves turning away from the darkness of self-centredness, turning towards Christ, and becoming a member of the local and worldwide Christian family.

Baptism (also known as christening) is a 'sacrament' - a visible sign of God's love in baptism, we are thanking God for his gift of life, acknowledging his love and the need we all have to turn away from the darkness of evil and to make a new start with God.

Those who haven't been baptised as children can be baptised as adults.

When did baptism start?

Jesus was himself baptised in the River Jordan, which marked a turning point in his life.  (You can read about the story at the beginning of Mark's Gospel in the Bible.)  He told his followers to baptise others as a sign that they had turned away from their old life, been assured of God's forgiveness, and begun a new life as Christ's disciples and members of His Church.  Baptisms often took place in a river.  New Christians were often dipped under the water and lifted up again as a sign of new birth.  Some churches still follow the practice of full immersion today.

Shouldn't children make their own decisions?

Some people worry that they are imposing views on their children.  But from the moment they are born, parents make choices on their behalf.  For example, parents don't wait until babies are old enough to ask to be fed.  In the same way, it is right to give children spiritual nourishment and teach them about God's love from an early age.  However, it is possible for people of any age to be baptised. 

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Page last updated: 1st September 2019 12:59 PM