HOW DO WE ARRANGE A BAPTISM?
Our usual time to meet those who want to arrange a Baptism is during Vestry Hour at the St Nicholas’ Centre (70 Church Road, next door to the St Nicholas’ Church). Vestry Hour usually happens on the third Thursday of the month from 7pm, except in August and December. You don’t need to make an appointment, just call in. At this first meeting we will discuss baptism briefly and check that your child is eligible to be baptised in the parish. We will also discuss available dates at St Nicholas’ and St Mary’s and you will be invited to attend a short Baptism preparation evening with other families. We will do our best to find a convenient date from those we have available. You will need to fill in an application form at that time.
If Thursday evenings are difficult, please contact us to make alternative arrangements. Please note that on some occasions, e.g. during school holidays and around Christmas or Easter, we may not be open. Please ring the parish office to check
WHO CAN BE BAPTISED AT ST NICHOLAS OR ST MARY’S?
Anyone who lives in the parish of Halewood can be Baptised, or bring a child to be Baptised, at St Nicholas’ or St Mary’s.
If you don’t live in the parish of Halewood or are not a regular worshiping member, but you have a genuine connection with one of our churches, it may still be possible for your child to be baptised here. Before such a Baptism can go ahead we ask you to make contact with the Church in the parish where you live and to seek the goodwill of the Minister there. Normally he or she will write to us to indicate that there is no objection to the Baptism taking place in Halewood.
If you are not sure which parish you live in, please ask—we can usually help! (You can also find out online: www.achurchnearyou.com)
WHEN WILL THE SERVICE BE?
Baptisms normally happen on the second Sunday in the month at 12:15pm and 1.00pm at St Nicholas’ and the third Sunday at 10:30AM at St Mary’s.
If you have a particular date in mind, we will try to accommodate your request but please bear in mind that some dates get fully booked well in advance, and certain dates are not available for other reasons. (For example, we do not usually have Baptism services in August because of holidays, nor in December because of the extra services in the period leading up to Christmas, and sometimes not in the month leading up to Easter.)
To avoid disappointment, please don’t make any other arrangements (e.g. booking a venue for a party) until we have agreed a date and time.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
You will be pleased to know that there is no charge for a Baptism service! We will also provide a Baptism certificate and cards for Godparents at no cost to you.
During the service, a collection will be taken and you will be able to make a donation then. We also have the facility for people to make donations electronically. Our Churches rely solely on the contributions of parishioners and visitors to pay for all the community-building work we do with adults and children, and the upkeep of our buildings (we do not get money from either government or the Church of England centrally). So please do give generously.
If you want to know more about supporting the Church on a regular basis by joining the Parish Giving Scheme, please let us know and we will give you a form. If you are a tax-payer, please consider making your donation a Gift Aid payment, allowing us to reclaim the tax you have already paid on your gift.
WHAT ABOUT THE SERVICE?
At the preparation evening you will meet our Baptism Secretaries. You’ll also be
allocated a Baptism Sponsor who is a member of the congregation who you will get to know and who will be there to support you on the day.
If you have a particular hymn that you would like to sing, or a prayer or Bible reading that you would like included, please let your Baptism Sponsor know. The Minister taking the service is responsible for making the final choices, but we welcome suggestions.
When you book the Baptism, you will be asked to give details of the people you would like to act as Godparents. If you don’t have this information at the time, it will be possible to for you to let the Baptism Secretaries know later.
Church law requires Godparents to be Baptised and Confirmed. It doesn’t matter in which Christian Church they were Baptised or Confirmed. If it is not possible for you to find Godparents who have been Confirmed, then this requirement may be relaxed. Someone who has not been Baptised, however, cannot be a Godparent, but they can be a sponsor.
Traditionally, children have three Godparents—two of the same sex as the child, and one of the opposite sex. If you cannot find three Godparents, then one of each sex will be sufficient. It is possible to have more, if you wish, but no more than four.
Godparents share responsibility with the parents to see that the child is given a Christian upbringing within the family of the Church. At the service, they will be asked:
Minister: Will you pray for them, draw them by your example into the community of faith and walk with them in the way of Christ?
And must be able to reply:
With the help of God, we will.
Minister: In baptism these children begin their journey in faith. You speak for them today. Will you care for them, and help them to take their place within the life and worship of Christ’s Church?
With the help of God, we will.
Since Godparents promise to help the child to become a regular worshipper, it makes sense that they are themselves should be regular worshippers.
HOW MANY GUESTS CAN WE INVITE?
Some people invite just the immediate family and Godparents to the service, while others throw a big party for everyone they know! Please bear in mind that St Nicholas’ holds around 200 people. At Baptism services, we will usually have two or three families taking part, so if each family comes with 50-60 guests, the place will be full. St Mary’s is a smaller building, but we usually have just one family at a time. We love seeing lots of people in Church, but please be aware that if you invite too many guests, we cannot guarantee that they will all get a seat!
We do want everyone to join in with the whole service, by taking part in the liturgy, the prayers and the singing. There will also be a short talk by the minister. Please let your guests know that they will be expected to take part and that they should stay in church for the whole of the service.
ON THE DAY
We ask parents and Godparents to be in church at least 15 minutes before the service is due to start. At St Nicholas’, if your baptism is booked for the 1.00pm time slot you may have a short wait in the porch area whilst the families who have been having their baptisms at 12.15 make their way out of church, so please be patient.
Those who are to be Baptised, and their parents and Godparents, will be seated at the front of one of the sections of the Church. We try to make sure that all of your guests are seated together in one area of the Church.
We can make arrangements for guests in wheelchairs to be seated with the rest of their party: please let us know if anyone requires.
Both churches have car parks. At St Nicholas’ parking is an issue, and the 12:15 PM Baptism services are a particular problem as the congregation from the 11:00 AM service may not have left by the time you arrive. Please let your guests know what the options are, and suggest that they leave enough time to find a space elsewhere and walk to Church, if possible. If you are coming by car, please consider sharing. We ask all Church users to park safely and considerately, and particularly ask that cars do not block the pavements or access, or other cars in the car park
CHILDREN IN CHURCH
We love having children in Church—that’s why we Baptise them! But we understand that little ones can get restless and we don’t expect them to be still and quiet for the whole service. Please feel free to bring them some quiet toys if that would help them. We don’t have anyone on duty to run a crèche during Baptism services, so they will need to stay with you. (You might like to know that on Sunday mornings at St Nicholas’ and St Mary's, we do provide a crèche, so that you are free to leave little ones while you stay in Church. Our crèche staff are all volunteers who are trained in Child Protection, and all have been CRB/DBS checked. The same is true of all those who work with children and young people on behalf of our Church.)
If your child is upset during the service (it happens!), please don’t be embarrassed to provide whatever he or she needs—food, drink, a changed nappy, or just a change of scenery.
We do have toilets available in both our churches
PHOTOGRAPHS AND VIDEO
We ask the congregation not to take pictures or use video cameras during the service because it is an act of worship. Photographs are also off-putting for other people and we want everyone who attends the service to take a full part in it. You are very welcome to stay behind in Church for a while after the service has finished and take photos.
We ask that phones are switched off when you are in Church—for obvious reasons.
WHAT PREPARATION WILL WE HAVE?
We ask that phones are switched off when you are in Church—for obvious reasons.
BAPTISM PREPARATION EVENING
If your child is eligible to be baptised in the parish, you will be invited to attend a short Baptism preparation evening with other families. The preparation evening is a chance to talk about what Baptism means in an informal atmosphere with other families and members of the church family. We will also talk about what will happen at the service.
The administration for Baptism services is done by our Baptism Secretaries. You should meet them at the preparation evening. They are responsible for any admin so you should contact them if anything changes from your side.
Please use the dedicated email address
COMING TO CHURCH
If you have not been a regular attender at church, we ask you to, as a minimum, attend the morning services on the Sundays two weeks before the date of the Baptism (10:30AM at St Mary’s and 11:00AM at St Nicholas’). This will help you to familiarise yourself with the Church so that you feel at home. It also enables us to meet you again. We like both parents to attend if they can, but we quite understand that it may not be possible. Please invite the Godparents and the child’s grandparents or other members of the family and friends.
At the end of the service, please don’t rush off, but introduce yourself to a member of the Clergy or someone who is on duty as Sidesperson, Steward or Warden (e.g. the people who are collecting the service sheets).
As well as our Baptism Secretaries we also have Baptism Sponsors— these are a members of the congregation, whose job it is to help make the Baptism go as well as possible. Baptism Sponsors are all regular worshippers who know how important these occasions are, and who will do what they can to help you feel at ease when the big day comes. They can also tell you a bit more about the life of the Church—activities for children and adults, services and so on. (Baptism Sponsors are all volunteers, so you will get a genuine, unbiased opinion!)
If you have a connection with one of our Sponsors (e.g. if you have previously brought a child for Baptism here, or one of the Sponsors happens to be a friend or neighbour of yours), please let us know. We will see if we can arrange for them to be your child’s Sponsor.
WHO WILL TAKE THE SERVICE?
We have a team of Clergy who take Baptisms at St Nicholas’ & St Mary’s. If you have particular contact with one of the team, it may be possible to arrange for that person to take the service, but we can’t guarantee it.
WHAT IF WE NEED TO POSTPONE OR CANCEL THE BAPTISM SERVICE?
PLEASE GET IN TOUCH AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!
We will do all we can to help. If for any reason you change your plans, please let us know. If possible, we like to see you in person—so please come along to vestry (usually the third Thursday of the month 7pm-7.45pm at the St Nicholas’ Centre)—but you may prefer to email us on email@example.com
We prefer not to change arrangements over the telephone.
If your address or telephone numbers change, please let us know. If we are not able to contact you, we may assume that the Baptism is cancelled!
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Please email the Baptism Secretaries on firstname.lastname@example.org
or call in at the St Nicholas’ Centre at Vestry Hour, or come to Church on a Sunday morning (our main services start at 10:30 AM at St Mary’s and 11:00 AM at St Nicholas’). If you are not used to it, the best way to get a feel for the Church is to attend a service—you will be very welcome!
We trust that all your plans go well, and that the Baptism service will be the special and important occasion that you hope for.