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.
Thanksgiving is a celebration to mark the birth of a child. 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.
Baptism (Christening) involves making promises before God and the congregation to be a wholehearted disciple of Jesus Christ – and to show evidence of that commitment through regular attendance and involvement in the life of the church.
Here at St Mary’s, we offer all families the Thanksgiving service as the first step in giving thanks for the gift of children. This service takes place as soon as possible after meeting you, and is normally held either within one of our Sunday services, or at 12.45pm. The later service is ideally suited to families wishing to invite a large group of family and friends.
For families wishing to explore the Baptism (Christening) service, we invite you to attend our Baptism Preparation Course. Click here for more details.
Baptism (Christening) services are usually held 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 might 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, please do chat with us so their baptism can also be arranged.
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.
Your donation will help to support the Church in its ongoing ministry.
Who do I contact?
To find out more about Thanksgivings and Baptisms, please come along to a Sunday 10.30am service or use the Contact Us Form