Baptism for babies and children takes place in a service often called a Christening. In this service parents thank God for His gift of life, make a decision to start their child on a journey of faith and godparents promise help and support. The church also promises to welcome the child and to pray for the family. There is no requirement for parents seeking baptism for their children to be baptised themselves or for them to be regular churchgoers. St James, Altham welcomes all children into the family of God.
For your child, being baptized at a Christening marks the start of a lifelong journey of faith as part of the local and worldwide Christian family. Your child’s Baptism will normally take place during the main Sunday service (usually in the morning). This is so that your child can be seen to be joining the family of the Church and be welcomed into membership. In turn the Church will promise to support and pray for you and your child. Alternatively, if your guests are numerous, it may be more appropriate to hold a separate service for your child’s Christening. Please speak to the vicar or either of the churchwardens (link to contact webpage) to talk about arranging a baptism.
When a baptism has been requested and agreed with the vicar the details are passed to the baptism visitor. He or she will then make arrangements to visit the family probably within two weeks before the baptism takes place. This is to ensure that the family understands the commitment they are making, to finalise the necessary paperwork and go through what happens on the day. The baptism also involves a welcome into the church family and this sometimes takes place on the day of the baptism if it has been part of a normal Sunday church service.If the baptism was conducted in a separate service the family will be invited back at a later date to have their welcome during a normal Sunday service. At this time the candidate receives the gift of a candle and a child’s Bible.
A Certificate of Baptism and cards for the godparents are issued at the baptism. The former is an important document as it will need to be produced when the child wishes to be confirmed so it should be kept safe. The church makes no charge for a service of baptism.