Baptism (or Christening as it is also known) marks the beginning of a journey with God which continues for the rest of our lives. When babies and young children are baptised parents promise to pray for their child, to explain and give an example of faith in Jesus at home, and to help their child to become a worshipping member of their local church. In baptism we celebrate what God has done for us in Christ, making serious promises and declaring our Christian faith. Baptism is the first step in the Christian journey and we are here to support you and your child on the further steps of that journey. We welcome you to join us in our services as we pray with you for the health and growth of your child.



Are we expected to come to church regularly?

One of the promises that you make in the baptism service is that you will draw your child ‘by your example into the community of faith’, in other words to become part of the church. If you do not currently attend church, this would be a good opportunity for your to reassess your relationship with God, and start to become more involved in the church family. You’ll find a very warm welcome at St James, children’s activities and a crèche is available at the 10.30am service in Denton Holme.


When does the baptism service take place?

Baptisms take place in the 10.30am service, usually in the all age service on the first Sunday of the month. The date of the baptism is normally discussed after the initial meeting.


I am an adult, can I be baptised?

Yes, you would be encouraged to attend a course such as Alpha, if you haven’t already done so, to help you understand what the Christian faith is about.


Can I be re-baptised?

Although it is only possible to be baptised once, it is possible to have a service of reaffirmation of the baptism promises. This would be similar to baptism (even using water), but the difference is that it reaffirms the promises originally made, as a public sign of Christian faith. If you feel this is something you would value, please contact us.


How much does baptism cost?

There is no fee for the baptism service.


Can anyone be a Godparent?

Choosing Godparents is an important decision. Godparents must be baptised and also ideally confirmed, they should also be active committed Christians. The Godparents should be people you feel will support your child in their life journey, and who will encourage your child in the Christian faith. People normally choose three and sometimes four godparents (at least two of the godparents should be the same sex of the child).


I don’t feel comfortable making the promises required in baptism, but would like to celebrate the birth of my child, is there an alternative service we could have?

Yes, for those who want to celebrate the birth of their child, but do not feel comfortable making the promises in baptism might prefer a service of thanksgiving.


I want my baby baptised, but my partner isn’t interested in religion, does this mean we can’t have a baptism?

No, it doesn’t, so long as one parent and the Godparent make the declarations and promises then a child may be baptised. It might be difficult for you if your partner is actually opposed to your baby being baptised. Talk it through with your partner and with the vicar. If you are able to go ahead, include your partner in as much of the preparation as possible so questions can be raised. Your partner may feel uncomfortable saying things they do not believe, and rightly so, but may still want to be involved. Remember that baptism is only the start for you and your baby so discuss the implications for the future too.


We’re not married, can we still have our child baptised?

Yes. Baptism is about your child’s relationship with God and the Church. Your marital status is not directly an issue. However in the baptism service you will be promising to raise your child in a Christian home, and the church teaches that marriage is the best context not only for raising children but also for your relationship. This is an opportunity to reassess your situation. You might consider whether getting married might be best for you, and your child, it may even be possible to combine your wedding and your child’s baptism!




Thanksgiving ImageAn alternative to a baptism service, is a service of thanksgiving. Until a generation ago, most children in Britain were baptised as infants, now increasingly people are opting for a thanksgiving service. In a baptism service the parents and God parents have to make public vows of Christian commitment. But some people are not ready for that, and do not feel comfortable making such a commitment. Other parents feel that the child should decide for themselves when they are older if they wish to be baptised, and therefore opt for a thanksgiving service instead.

In a thanksgiving service we celebrate the birth of a child, and pray for the child and their parent(s), and ask God to bless them. Unlike baptism, the parents aren’t expected to make any promises in a service of thanksgiving. A thanksgiving service is an opportunity to celebrate God’s gift of a child, and say thank-you publicly and joyfully.

It is possible to have a baptism service at a later date after having a service of thanskgiving.


What is a Thanksgiving Service all about?

The Thanksgiving Service offers this opportunity to publicly celebrate the birth of a child. This service allow parents and families to express their delight and gratitude to God for the new being they are welcoming into their homes, to pray for the child and to ask others to pray for them. This is not Baptism, which is the sacrament by which we are welcomed into membership of the church. It is quite simply a celebration of a new life within a family, a thank-you for a small person given by God to be loved, nurtured and enjoyed. The minister taking the service will bless the child and pray for the family, but the parents are not required to make any promises.


Thanksgiving or Baptism?

If you choose to have a Thanksgiving, you may also have a Baptism service for your child at a later date. In fact, for families who are new to the church, and are considering Baptism for their child, the Thanksgiving Service can also serve as an opportunity to introduce them and their child formally to the rest of the church, and to invite the congregation to pray for them as they consider Baptism.


When can the service be held?

The thanksgiving can take place in one of our Sunday services, or at another mutually convenient day or time.


What does it cost?

The thanksgiving service is free.


How do I arrange a thanksgiving service?

Please contact the Paris Office on 01228 810616.

St James' Church
St James' Road

Opening Times: Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 4:00pm