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 and we hope it will be part of an ongoing relationship with the church.

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 can take place during the main Sunday service, demonstrating a warm welcome into the church family.  Alternatively, it is often appropriate to hold a separate service for your child’s Christening on a Sunday afternoon.  Please speak to the vicar or either of the churchwardens 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.

Each child needs at least two God Parents, each of whom must have been baptised, and who will join with the parents in making promises on the child’s behalf. If you live in another parish, you would need to have a word with the vicar in your own parish for your child to be baptised at St James, Altham (Usually just a formality). At the service the child 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.

Baptism is not just for babies. It is open to anyone who has not previously been baptised. Talk to the vicar if this is something you wish to consider.

The church makes no charge for a service of baptism.