Baptisms at St Laurence’s, Long Eaton
St Laurence’s Church welcomes you and your family. We are here to offer you help and support in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and part of that is to pray for the happiness and peace of your family in the years ahead. This all begins at Baptism. The FAQs on this page answer many of the common questions people have about Baptisms, but if you have any further questions please contact us. Read on to find out:
- What is Baptism?
- Why bother being baptized?
- What is your role?
- Holy Baptism: a brief explanation of some of its various elements and their meaning.
- What about Godparents?
- The big day
- How much does it cost?
- Enquiring about Baptism
Confirmation at St Laurence’s
We become members of the Church (God’s Family) by being baptized. We prepare people for Baptism as children and as adults. Those who want to become more committed are prepared for Confirmation.
If you are baptized and are now interested in being prepared for Confirmation, please contact one of the clergy.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Baptism?
Baptism makes us Christians which is why it is sometimes called by its old English name Christening. It is the first of the Church’s seven sacraments and it is absolutely essential – we cannot be Christians without it. When we are baptized we become members of Christ’s Body which is the Church. Baptism marks a new beginning of a person’s life in Christ. He or she becomes a Christian – another Christ.
Why bother being baptized?
Those who care for us want us to have the very best start in life. From the moment we are born we are dependent upon others to feed us, clothe us, care for us, and love us. Without this care we would not survive. We also need our spiritual well-being looked after until we are able to look after ourselves, which is why Baptism is so important. When you smile at your baby it brings them to life. God’s smile comes in Baptism. It is a sign that we are precious to Him and valued.
What is your role?
Very often children who are baptized are too young to understand what is happening at their Baptism so they need the continued help and support of their parents. For you as parents this is done through:
- Your prayers – asking God to help you and your child.
- Your example – showing your child how to live in love and with compassion.
- Your teaching – telling your child about Jesus and the Christian way of life.
Don’t worry! The Church is there to help. If you have any questions about faith and prayer or simply want advice on choosing Christian books or would like to know more about activities for young children, please ask one of the clergy.
Holy Baptism: a brief explanation of some of its various elements and their meaning.
During the celebration of Baptism a number of signs and symbols are used to indicate the presence of God and his love for us. Here is some explanation of their meaning:
A sign on something shows its origins or ownership. The sign of the cross is the mark for Christians of Jesus Christ who died on the cross. The sign of the cross is traced on the forehead to show that the child now belongs to Christ who now offers his help and grace to face and overcome the trials of life. The sign of the cross is given towards the beginning of the service and is made with Holy Oil (see below).
This is for washing and refreshing, and in Baptism it is a sign that our sins are washed away. Water is also necessary for life and so is a sign, too, that the life of the risen Christ is ours. It is through the waters of Baptism that we are “born again.”
The Oil of Baptism is used towards the beginning of the service when the cross in traced on the child’s forehead. It is olive oil blessed by the Bishop and it is a sign of preparation. Just as athletes used to rub oil into themselves to strengthen and prepare them for the race ahead, so it is used in Baptism to prepare us for the Christian race. The Oil of Chrism is also used later in the service just after the child has been baptized. It is a mixture of olive oil and perfume and sweet smelling balsam. It is an oil of anointing: it is rubbed onto the crown of the head just as it is used when the monarch is crowned or a priest or bishop ordained. It is a sealing of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and a sign that we belong to Jesus’ royal family.
This garment (usually a shawl) is a relic of the clothes worn by Christians after baptism in the first centuries. It is a sign of innocence and putting on the new life of resurrection.
The lighted candle
Any light burns away darkness. The candle given to the child at Baptism represents the light of Christ burning away the darkness in our lives, to bring us new light and life, assuring us that Jesus is always with us. The baptismal candle is lit from the great Easter Candle which is a sign of the risen Christ. We pray that your child’s life will illuminate others with the spirit Jesus.
Your efforts will not only help your child to grow up in the love of God, they will also help you grow. As you teach your child to pray, you yourself will also deepen in prayer; as you teach your child about Jesus, his life, example and teachings, your own faith will be enriched. Your child’s Baptism is the beginning of a new life in which you will all grow closer to one another and to God.
What about Godparents?
You will need support in bringing up your child as a Christian. The Church usually asks for three Godparents to help with this responsibility—so choose them carefully. They must be baptized themselves and it is a good idea to have people who go to church regularly. Choose people who are willing to accept the same responsibilities as you in bringing up your child as a Christian.
Godparents share responsibility in a number of ways: for example, remembering your child on its birthday, at Christmas, at Easter and on the anniversary of Baptism. They also give encouragement by their own example of going to church regularly, praying with your child and perhaps even teaching your child prayers, such as the ‘Our Father’.
The big day
The day of Baptism is a great day for your child and the family, and for the Church as it welcomes a new member. Because Baptism makes us members of the Church, the rest of God’s family will want to get to know you and welcome you, so please try your hardest to come to Church regularly before and after the Baptism so that you can begin to learn what it means to be a member of the Christian family.
How much does it cost?
Nothing! There is no charge for Baptism. If you wish to make an offering, that is at the total discretion of you and your family – but this is a purely voluntary contribution.
Enquiring about Baptism
Please contact one of the clergy. You can do this by coming to a service on Sunday (9.30 am Parish Mass) or contacting the Parish Office (see contact details). Arrangements may be made for you to come to one of the Enquiry Sessions which often take place on a Saturday morning. You may have some idea about when you might like the Baptism to take place: that’s fine, but please be aware that we have a schedule of services planned in advance and your child’s Baptism will have to be fitted into that schedule. Baptisms can take place during the Sunday morning service (9.30 am Parish Mass), at 11.30 am or sometimes on the first Sunday of the month at 4.30 pm. You will have to discuss this with the clergy when you meet.
Fr Giles will be pleased to answer any further questions.
Tel. 07791 596 404