Baptisms, Thanksgivings, Confirmations
BAPTISM is the start of an amazing journey of faith for your child and a very special day for you and your family. It acknowledges that your child is precious to God as well as to you and that you both want the very best for them in life. At a baptism you chose to bring your child to God and make promises about living life as a Christian and helping your child learn and grow in the faith throughout their life journey. Baptism marks the start of Christian life as a member of the church.
Christening and baptism basically mean the same thing, though a christening is the name we might give to the whole celebration and baptism is the bit of the service done with the water!
If you want a christening/baptism, the first thing to do is get in touch with our administrator here. You’ll then be invited to an ‘Exploring Baptism’ session run by one team looking at the meaning of baptism, and what it will mean for your family. We will go through the promises made at the service and we will book a date and time for your baptism at the end of the session.
Baptisms usually take place in the principal service on a Sunday morning. The baptism itself starts off with vows made by the person being baptised (if they are an adult), or by godparents (if they are children). After the baptism, you receive a lighted candle, and everyone welcomes you into the church.
If you are an adult, you will need to be confirmed too by the area bishop as soon as possible after the baptism (see below).
When can I have a baptism?
Unless there are exceptional circumstances, baptisms usually happen in the regular Sunday morning service. We do offer services of baptism apart from the main service on the 3rd Sunday of the month at our two bigger churches when needed.
Baptism services in our churches are usually held at:-
- St John’s Stansted at the 9.30 am Family Communion Service on the 1st Sunday of each month or at 3pm on the 3rd Sunday of the month.
- St Mary’s Farnham as part of the Holy Communion service on Sundays at 11.15am on the 1st or 3rd Sunday of the month.
- St Mary’s Birchanger as part of the Holy Communion service on Sunday’s at 11.15 on the 2nd or 4th Sunday of the month.
- At Takeley as part of the Holy Communion service on Sunday’s at 9.30am on the 2nd Sunday of the month.
- At Little Canfield as part of the Holy Communion service on Sunday’s at 9.30am on the 3rd Sunday of the month. Or occasionally at either Takeley or Little Canfield at 3pm on the 3rd Sunday of the month when required.
How many godparents can I have?
Every child should have at least three godparents, two of the same sex and at least one of the opposite sex to your child. Although there is no official maximum number of godparents, three or four is usual. If you’d like more than that, talk to our clergy team about the practicalities and they’ll be pleased to advise.
I don’t have anyone to be a godparent. Does that matter?
Parents may be godparents for their own children, providing they have at least one other godparent and are baptised themselves.
What are the responsibilities of being a godparent?
It’s the godparents job to ensure that children are brought up with a sound knowledge of the Christian faith. There is advice from the national church about being a godparents here.
I have someone I want to be a godparent, but I’m not sure they’ve been baptised. Does that matter?
Because of the very special role godparents have in supporting your child’s faith journey, they must be baptised themselves. If you want friends who are not baptised to be involved in supporting your child then they can act as a ‘sponsor’ in addition to the godparents. They can still be involved in the service, and we will give them a ‘sponsor’ certificate at the end too
A thanksgiving is an alternative to baptism and represents less of a commitment to the Christian way of life. It is normally for a newly born child, rather than an adult.
It’s a special service in church to say thank you to God for your child if you decide that now isn’t the right time to have your child baptized. Or, you could even have the Thanksgiving service as well as a christening.
You might also choose this service when your baby is just born, or if you have adopted a child into your family and you simply want to celebrate this with special words said by a vicar in church.
Whatever the reason, one of our clergy team will be delighted to talk to you about this service.
Thanksgivings may be done at any time or place, including at your home if you wish.
Confirmation can only be performed by bishops, and is for people who have already been baptised, and want to affirm their faith publicly for themselves.
Traditionally, confirmation is seen as necessary before receiving Holy Communion. Confirmation will be preceded by some form of ‘confirmation class’, though the form of this may vary from person to person.
For more helpful information about Christenings in The Church Of England visit: