Baptisms

Baptism (sometimes known as 'christening' is the ceremony which welcomes a person into the Church. Often, people request it for their child or toddler but we can baptise someone at any age. Here are answers to some of the questions we have been asked most frequently.

Baptismal Font in St. Bartholomew's Church, Sydenham

Q. Can we have our child baptised at St. Barts?

We are happy to celebrate baptisms for infants of parents who have a Christian belief. You may ask for it in the parish you live in, or the church you regularly worship at, if that is different from your parish church. In other words, we can baptise your child at St. Barts if you live in the parish or if you live outside the parish but attend St. Bart's.

Q. Do we live in St. Barts parish?

See right for the link to our parish boundaries.

Q. When are baptisms conducted?

On Sunday mornings, during the 10.00am Parish Eucharist. We can normally offer this once a month, but you need to contact us several weeks in advance to agree a date. The ceremony takes place during the Sunday worship because it is not a private ceremony. It is about welcoming someone into the Church. The Church is people, and therefore we do this when people are gathered. It also gives you the opportunity, if you haven't taken it so far, to sample worship in a modern Christian community. And it enables us in the Church community to welcome you and minister to our wider community.

Q. How do I make a booking?

Either come along to our Office Hour, on Saturday morning, at the church, from 10.00am to 11.00am, or ring 020 8778 5290 to make an appointment.

Q. What happens next?

We shall have at least two further meetings between your first visit and the date booked for the baptism. One will be to visit your home, by prior arrangement. This is to help us get to know one another better, to explain a little more about the ceremony, take down the particulars, and answer any questions. The second meeting is in church, nearer the actual day itself. Here, we shall take you through the service step by step. Godparents are invited to attend this meeting.

Q. What are Godparents?

Godparents are responsible adults who undertake to encourage the spiritual development of your child. They must have been baptised themselves and, ideally, be practising Christians. They need not necessarily be Anglicans. It is usual to have two of the same sex as the child and one of the opposite sex. Parents may be Godparents to their own children. Resist the temptation to choose godparents for purely social reasons and have too many!

Q. What is the fee for baptism?

There is no fee. A collection will be taken during the service which provides the opportunity to make a donation to the church if you wish.

Q. Can I be baptised as an adult?

Yes - and this increasingly happens these days. But you cannot be baptised as an adult if this has already happened when you were an infant (even if your parents called it 'christening'). If, however, your parents brought you to a service of thanksgiving as an infant, which was not baptism, you can be baptised as an adult.

Usually people who ask for baptisms as adults have come to faith as adults. We are very happy to encourage and endorse this. Most of what is said above about infants applies to adults, except that you have 'sponsors' rather than Godparents and, of course, you can speak for yourself. We also strongly encourage those getting baptised as adults to join our confirmation course, because baptism on its own does not give you the right to receive holy communion. Full membership of the church is attained through baptism, confirmation and holy communion. We run a confirmation course of about 13 sessions once a year.

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Call the Rev Michael Kingston on 020 8778 5290

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