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Baptisms (Christenings) in the Parish of St Aidan
We are very happy to consider Christening / Baptising (both words mean much the same) you or your child in our Church. Please read the information below: and then please feel free to contact me without obligation, eg, email: firstname.lastname@example.org kindly sending the information requested (see below)
What is Baptism ?
It is a sign of belonging to the Church. The water of Baptism is a reminder that God can wash away all our sins and mistakes - and can bring renewal to our lives, if we want: as water transforms a parched desert. Baptism is a sacrament that unites all who are Christened into the death and then rising to new life of Jesus.
Water is poured onto the Baptism candidate; they are signed with a Cross on the forehead with Holy Oil (an ancient symbol of the power and the love of God as Holy Spirit); and they receive a candle, a symbol of Jesus Christ as Light of the World.
A Christening also has the "spin-off" effect of giving thanks for a new human life, and welcoming that new human into the circle of family and friends, and the wider community. NB: It is possible to have a "Thanksgiving for a Child" liturgy if you do not wish for the Sacrament of Baptism at this time.
Philip, the parish priest (07805 509469 - email@example.com), or a member of our Baptism Team will visit you to explain things more, to explore the faith further, and to listen to your comments/suggestions. The following information may be of use:
When do Christenings take place ?
1) Baptism's can take place during the main Service in St Aidan's church on some Sundays: at either the 11.00am contemporary worship on the first Sunday of most months; or at 10.00am at the 'All-age liturgy' on the third Sunday of most months. At the latter service visitors are welcome to share Holy Communion, and we especially invite you to bring your child to the Altar for a Blessing when folk come forward to receive Communion (NB: we use gluten-free altar bread).
If a small child is really upset (especially during a talk or reading) feel free to take him/her out for a moment. However, as long as they are happy and safe, don't worry. You do not have to hold them in one seat for a whole Service, we know children rarely sit still for a hour. We provide books and toys for children, but they can bring their own books and (quiet!) toys.
2) Baptism's can also take place as a separate one-off Service, sometimes on a Sunday lunchtime - though that is less available than once it was, and is normally limited to those Sundays when Kirklees Schools are off the following week (ie, the church is set up after the Sunday Service/s for the Tuesday Toddler Group which meets in term-time). Often more popular is another day (perhaps Saturday) and at a time convenient to the family and the priest. This liturgy lasts about 20 minutes.
Most folk do not have hymns at such a Service - but if you would like to sing any, please let us know in plenty of time so that we can try to arrange a organist/musician (to whom you may be asked to pay a fee) or provide a CD accompaniment
At the separate Service you are welcome to invite (willing!) members of your family or friends to read the two readings in the Christening text, otherwise Philip will read them. If there are any poems/readings that are appropriate to your child that you would like to add to the separate Service, please feel free to let us know.
It might be helpful if you came to look at the church before the Baptism, assuming you have not already shared our worship.
You are also welcome to any Service, including the ''Contemporary Worship'' which usually takes place at 11.00am on the first Sunday of the month; or the ''All-age'' liturgy which usually takes place on the third Sunday of the month at 10.00am. But you are welcome to any service (most Sundays at 10.00am - for exact details please check the relevant pages on this website and/or our facebook website ''St Aidan's Church, Skelmanthorpe'')..
We also run a Sunday Club for children at 9.00am usually on the third Sunday of the month (but check beforehand); and 'Messy Church' usually on the third Saturday of the month at 4.00pm for families - this is for creative activities (hence 'messy'!), a short time of worship, and tea.
Philip, the parish priest, or a member of the parish Baptism Team can further explore the Faith with you
Please do not book a date/time for a Baptism until you have asked Philip
Feel free to email Philip a Baptism request:
let us know your name (and your partners name, if relevant),
the child's full name and date of birth,
your postal address, telephone number/s & email address/es,
and whether you have any other children (and if so, their Christian name & year of birth).
The Baptism register would also like to know your work / occupation,
thank you - Philip, parish priest at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please kindly note that Philip is often not available to deal with enquiries on Mondays
If you have any guests who are wheelchair users, then please let us know in advance: so that we can place the church ramp at the vestry door
What about Godparents ?
Traditionally three Godparents are chosen (two of the same sex as the child) - but it is more important that you chose people who will be caring friends to your child without interfering in your family life. The gender and exact number of Godparents is not as important as choosing the right people. Though please do not chose too many people, otherwise the significance of this important role in the life of your child/ren becomes diluted and impersonal.
Sometimes a person under 18 years old may become a Godparent, but it might be best to check any particular suggestion with Philip. A friend who belongs to another religion cannot be a Christian Godparent, but might be made a "Soul Friend" to provide loving support for your child/ren.
Can we take photographs ?
At the main Sunday Mass you are welcome to take photographs or a video during the Baptism, when we are at the back of church round the Font. But we would be grateful if no photo's or video's are taken of other parts of the Service.
You are welcome to have a friend or photographer video/photo the whole of a separate Christening Service, if you wish.
How much does it cost ?
Nothing - there is no fee for Baptism (except for the musician/organist if wanted at a separate Service). We don't mind accepting voluntary donations, but there is no charge!
What about the Font ?
St Aidan's Font was made over 900 years ago in about 1080 AD, one of the last Anglo-Saxon carvings of the period just after the Norman Invasion. This Font was created for the first church at High Hoyland, but it was thrown out in the 18th Century and used as a cattle trough! Only in 1895 was it restored to its ancient and proper purpose when rescued for use in St Aidan's Church, which was being built then.
Well over two and a half thousand Christenings have taken place here since Easter Sunday 1895 (up to 2017) - we can only guess how many folk were Baptised in the Font during the long centuries of the medieval era. It is a privilege to be part of such a long tradition. (In 2017 Philip has just celebrated his 850th Baptism in our parish)
What else do we need to know ?
Please feel free to ask Philip or a Baptism Team member anything you wish to check. You may find other information of interest elsewhere on this parish website: or on St Aidan's Church facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/St-Aidans-Church-Skelmanthorpe/253055751372806
You might also enjoy the Toddler Group in church on Tuesday mornings between 9.45am & 11.15am in school term time. Please feel free to check with us when the Toddler Group is meeting; but you do not have to book, just turn up.
You are very welcome to any of our Services. Children are welcome in y/our Church.: We know that no-one has to share in Worship, so we are pleased to welcome you and your child/ren. We are delighted to state that God loves you and everyone utterly and totally, whether Baptised/Christened or not.
Shouldn't we leave the decision to the child when they grow up ?
There is no neutral position. To Baptise your child is making a decision, making a statement. And not Christening your child is equally making a statement, making a decision for them.
Baptising a child is not forcing religion "down their throats". Christening is a way of sharing something of God's love with a child. They are free to respond to that love later, if they make the choice to confirm their Faith, perhaps through the sacrament of Confirmation.
When we teach our children not to ride their bike down the middle of the road, or teach them not to be cruel to the cat; we are not so much limiting their lives/freedom, as giving them guidance which will liberate them and help them grow into their full potential as human beings. The same is true when we accept Baptism for them.
Philip (parish priest)