Holy Baptism is a really important moment in life, whatever age we are and we will do everything we can to make it a very special day. Baptism is the service at which a person – adult or child – is welcomed into the family of God’s Church and makes a commitment to lead a Christian way of life. What it involves depends on whether it is a child who is being baptised, or an adult. We ask you, as preparation for baptism to come to church as often as you can. It is important to know the family of faith to which you are asking to belong, and to experience for yourself how we can help you fulfil the promises that you will make.
Baptism of Children (or Infant Baptism or Christening)
Any parent who lives in the parishes of Elstead, Thursley or Shackleford and Peper Harow is welcome to bring their child to church to be baptised. If you don’t live in the villages, but have a connection (e.g. your own parents live here) then we are happy to baptise your child, provided your own parish priest gives their consent. You don’t need to be a regular churchgoer, or even have been christened yourself. But remember, you will be asked to make certain promises in the service, and you ought to feel confident that in all conscience you can do this.
We would prefer to baptise your child during the main Sunday morning service. The advantage of this is that the whole congregation gets a chance to take part and to welcome their new member. Occasionally, we are able to offer a special service on a Sunday usually at 12 noon.
Our Pastoral Assistant, Sarah Goodship, looks after our baptism families in Elstead , so if you are wanting to make further enquiries or book a baptism in Elstead, please contact Sarah in the first instance or you can also enquire about a Baptism via the Baptism Enquiry Form. Sarah will arrange to visit you to have a chat, and book you in. At a later date, she will pay you another visit, along with the priest conducting the ceremony, to talk in more depth about Baptism, and to go through the service with you. We would like to offer you the opportunity to choose one of the hymns during the morning service, and we produce a special service booklet for the occasion.
Liza is the baptism coordinator for Shackleford and Peper Harow. Please contact her initially with your baptism enquiry.
Of course, young children are too little to be able to make the commitment to lead a Christian life which Baptism requires, so you as parents will make it on their behalf, along with the godparents. It is therefore important that you choose as godparents people who can in good conscience make such a commitment, and whom you consider will be able to nurture your child in his or her Christian life. A minimum of two godparents is required, though traditionally there are at least three: two of the same sex as the child. Parents may act as godparents to their own child, provided there is at least one other godparent. All godparents must themselves have been baptised.
There is no fee for Baptism, but you are invited to make a donation to the Church as a thanks-offering to God.
Baptism of Adults
More and more adults are presenting themselves for Baptism. No one is too old to be baptised, and no-one ought to feel awkward or embarrassed about enquiring. At an adult baptism, of course, the candidate makes the commitment for themselves, and for this reason it is hard to separate the rite of Baptism from that of Confirmation (see below). So adults are usually baptised at their Confirmation service. If you want to discuss adult Baptism further, please Revd Hannah or Revd Delia
Confirmation is the service at which a person confirms their commitment to lead a Christian life, and is in turn “confirmed” – that is, strengthened and encouraged – by a special blessing from God, administered by the Bishop. If you were baptised as a child, this is your chance to “own” the promises made on your behalf by your parents and godparents. If you weren’t, then at the Confirmation you will make these promises for yourself, and you will be baptised as a part of the Confirmation service.
Special Confirmation services are held throughout the year at Guildford Cathedral, and at selected churches in each Deanery; we are in the Deanery of Godalming. Candidates for Confirmation are prepared by their parish priests, either one-to-one, or in a group, depending on numbers.
If you are interested in discussing further the possibility of being confirmed, please contact Rev Hannah.