We are delighted that you are thinking of baptism either for your child or yourself here at St Paul’s Church in Shipley. Baptism marks the beginning of a spiritual journey for parents, who thank God for his precious gift of life, and for the baby, child, or adult, who becomes a member of our church family. It is also a wonderful opportunity to celebrate with family and friends.
On this page we use the term ‘baptism’ rather than ‘christening’ but the two terms can be used interchangeably. We also primarily focus on child baptisms. To find out more about or to discuss an adult baptism, please do get in touch.
Baptisms usually take place during either our 9.45am or 11.30am Sunday morning services at St Paul’s so that the congregation can welcome your child into the family of the church.
Before the Service
The Church of England requires you to choose three godparents for each child baptised. Two should be the same sex as the child. Being a godparent is an important and responsible role, so consider carefully who you will trust to take an interest in your child’s spiritual welfare. Godparents can be either family members (including parents) or friends, but they must be baptised themselves.
During the Service
The priest will ask you and your child’s godparents to bring your child to the font at the front of the church. You and the godparents will make some promises on behalf of your child. You declare your Christian faith and promise to help your child to follow Jesus. Your child is then baptised and welcomed into the church by the congregation, who promise to support, encourage and pray for your child and for you as a family.
During the baptism service, important symbols and signs are used which include water, the sign of the cross, oil and candles. The priest pours water on your child’s head as a sign of being washed free from sin and beginning a new life with God. The priest will then make the sign of the cross on your child’s forehead. This signifies that your child is united with Christ. After the baptism, the priest anoints your child with oil, which is a sign of the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit. A candle is lit during the service as a reminder of the light of Christ in your child’s life.
After the Service
Your child is now a member of both our church family here at St Paul’s and of the world-wide Christian community. Children are most welcome at all of our worship services. You might also like to bring your child along to our Toddler Group, our weekly music group, Churpies, or to our regular Messy Church events. If you have older children, they might like to try out the St Paul’s Church Junior Choir. Information about all of these groups can be found here.
A Thanksgiving Service provides an alternative to the traditional Baptism Service. In this service, parents thank God for the gift of their child, but do not make the same promises as in the baptism service, and the child is blessed by the priest. If, in the future, you decide that you are ready to make the public promises that baptism involves, your child can still be baptised at a later date.
For more information and to discuss a baptism or thanksgiving service further, please get in touch via the Contact Us page.