Baptisms & Thanksgivings
The Church of England offers two great services of welcome – Thanksgiving and Baptism (Christening).
Both services celebrate the gift of life, but with different commitments and promises made before God. So, what’s the difference?
This service is an opportunity to celebrate the gift of a child with one’s Family and Friends present, but without making promises to follow Jesus. Within the service, we give thanks to God for new life, and commit both you and your child(ren) to God, asking for his help and blessing in the years to come.
Instead of Godparents as in a Christening Service, your child will have Sponsors.
Within this service, your child is baptised and welcomed into the world’s largest family – God’s Family!
The service involves Parents Godparents making promises before God to follow Jesus and to attend Church regularly. This is important because it helps both adults and children to grow in faith. Following Jesus can be one of the most exciting journeys in life.
Symbols including Water, a Candle and a Bible are used to help us understand God’s amazing love for us all.
For parents choosing Baptism (Christening), we invite you to attend our Baptism Preparation Course which helps parents prepare for their child’s baptism and the exciting journey of life that awaits them after baptism. Click here for more details.
When are Services held?
Both Thanksgiving and Baptism Service are held on Sundays throughout the year at 12.45pm so as to accommodate all your family and friends! We welcome families and encourage you to come along as often as possible to any of the wide range of events on offer. Why not come and join our thriving, growing community, where we run a weekly toddler group; children’s programmes, a Sunday School and other family friendly events.
Baptism is also an option for adults and we are always delighted to meet with those ready to make this step in their Christian journey. Adults usually attend the Alpha course as part of their preparation, and adults can choose ‘full immersion’ baptism if they want!
Questions that are often asked
How many families share a service?
Due to the number of requests we receive, you will usually share a service with another family.
What about Godparents?
The Thanksgiving service offers parents the opportunity of having sponsors.
If parents wish to have their child baptised, then yes, baptised children do need Godparents.
Godparents must be willing to make the promises asked of them and to have been baptised themselves. If they haven’t been baptised, they may be able to be Sponsors, or they could explore Baptism themselves!
Parents can also be Godparents.
How many Sponsors/Godparents can we have?
The guidelines suggest three or more – we recommend no more than four, but the final decision rests with you.
We don't live in the parish - can we have the service at St Mary's Eaton Socon
It is usual to have your child welcomed in the parish where you live or attend regularly so that your child can grow in that church family.
However, if there are particular reasons why you would like to have the service here, it is usually possible to arrange this with the agreement of your own local minister.
Do I need to keep coming to church?
If you decide to have a Thanksgiving service, this does not imply any ongoing commitment to come to church. We would, however, be delighted to welcome you – and you might be pleasantly surprised by what you find!
In contrast, the Christening service expects that parents and godparents will help their children to ‘take their place within the life and worship of the church.
Does the service cost anything?
There is no charge for either service. However, as a Church we are self-funding, and rely on people’s generosity. We always encourage families to make a donation.