St Peter's Greenhill
Baptisms Christenings/Baptisms

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9.30am Holy Eucharist, 11am Family Service/ Communion

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What is a baptism or christening?

During a christening your child will be baptized with water. It’s the start of an amazing journey of faith for your child and a special day for all your friends and family.

In the church a christening is often called ‘baptism’ – the two words mean the same thing. In baptism we thank God for the life of our child and publicly acknowledge God’s love. It is an act that shows that we want our child to be part of God’s family and the church – this is done by washing a child in water, or sprinkling them. This washing is a sign that Jesus makes us clean, and because Jesus has made us clean we can be in God’s family. Jesus himself was baptized in the river Jordan.

What happens during the christening service?

The baptism service takes place as part of our normal Sunday service. It is done at this time because a key meaning behind baptism is that those being baptised are joining the church, so it is important that the whole church can see that you want your child to be part of God’s family. The Church will promise to support and pray for you and your child.

We dedicate about one service a month for baptisms. It is normal for there to be other baptisms happening in the same service. If your child needs baptising in an emergency then this can happen, but may have to take place outside of a normal Sunday service, so can only be done in an emergency.

The vicar will make sure you know where to sit and when you need to move in the service. There will be a rehearsal the Sunday before the christening service at 5pm.

A number of important symbols and actions will be used during the service itself:

The vows/promises

The vicar will ask the parents and godparents will be asked to declare publicly on behalf of your child that you believe in God and that you will bring your child up to follow Jesus.

You will be asked to answer, on your child's behalf, that you have decided to turn away from everything which is evil or sinful and instead to turn towards Christ.

The declarations made by you and the child's godparents will be made in front of the church congregation; the local Christian community will promise to support you and pray for you and your child. Have a look through the vows and see if you and the godparents feel you can make them publicly.

Minister                Do you reject the devil and all rebellion against God?

Answer                I reject them.

Minister                Do you renounce the deceit and corruption of evil?

Answer                I renounce them.

Minister                Do you repent of the sins that separate us from God and other people?

Answer                I repent of them.

Minister                Do you turn to Christ?

Answer                I turn to Christ.

Minister                And put your trust in him?

Answer                And put my trust in him.

Minister                And promise to follow him forever?

Answer                And promise to follow him forever

The sign of the cross

The vicar will make the sign of the cross on your child's forehead. This is like an invisible badge to show that Christians are united with Christ and must not be ashamed to stand up for their faith in him.

The vicar says:

Christ claims you for his own: Receive the sign of his cross.

Do not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified. 


This part of the service will take place around the font. (The font is a large basin on a pedestal, containing the water for baptism) and the vicar will pour water on your child's head. Water is a sign of washing and cleansing. In baptism it is a sign of being washed free from sin and beginning a new life with God.

Water is a sign of life, but also a symbol of death. When we are baptized, it is as though our old life is buried in the waters and we are raised to new life with Christ.

The welcome

The church congregation will say some formal words of welcome to acknowledge that you child has joined the Church and to show how pleased they are to have you among them.


Jesus is the Light of the World. A large candle may be lit in the church and you may also be given a lighted candle at the end of the service as a reminder of the light, which has come into your child's life. This candle can be taken home. It is a good idea each year, on the anniversary of your child’s baptism, to take this candle out, and perhaps light it as you eat your dinner. At some point as the child gets older, they will ask you what the candle is all about, giving you a chance to tell them about their baptism.

Do I have to be a regular churchgoer?

No you don’t.

Parents often want their children baptised for a variety of reasons, the main one perhaps being that they were baptised and it feels like it is something that should be done! The vicar will discuss these reasons with you and ensure you're comfortable with your decision to baptize or not.

Having your child baptised is a good opportunity to think about your own faith and the faith of your child: Do you want your child to grow up believing in God? Do you believe in God? Would you like to learn more about what Christians believe and how their beliefs change the way they live?

These are good questions to talk to the vicar about or a friend who goes to church. At Saint Peter’s we hope to make everyone who wants to explore faith welcome, and there are lots of ways and places you can get involved.

You don’t have to go to church regularly to have a christening, but perhaps after the christening you can begin to come along to church!

What if I am not sure about those promises or my own faith in God?

If you are not sure if you can make these promises, or about your desire to raise your child as a Christian, there is still a service that you can have called a ‘Thanksgiving Service’. It is a special church service, different from a christening, which can be used as a way to say thank you to God for your child.

It’s possible to have this service instead of a christening if you decide that now isn’t the right time to have your child baptized. Or, you could even have the Thanksgiving Service as well as a christening.

You might also choose this service when your baby is just born, or if you have adopted a child into your family and you simply want to celebrate this with special words said by a vicar in church.

Whatever the reason, your vicar will be delighted to talk to you about this service.

What do I do now?

The first step is to meet the church family. Please contact Rev. Ned Lunn, our vicar (click here for his telephone number), and he will arrange a Sunday service where you can be welcomed.

After this service Ned will arrange a time to visit your home to get to know you a little better and to talk to you about baptism.