Congratulations are presumably in order!
We are always pleased to hear from parents about arranging a christening. As a first step, just come (as a family if possible) to our 10am Sunday service, and at the end our Baptism team will meet you, talk things through with you, and give details of our preparation sessions; we can normally book a provisional date too. If you don’t live in Great Harwood we will ask you to contact your local Vicar to seek their support.
Baptisms usually take place at 12 noon on one or two Sundays a month (we limit each service to two families, both for space reasons and to make it as special as possible); the service lasts 30-40 minutes. If you prefer, or if your child is primary school age, we enjoy having a baptism in our main 10 am service. (There’s no charge, but we hope you’ll be happy to make a Gift-Aided donation.)
Lots more information and ideas at https://churchofenglandchristenings.org/
If you are a teenager or adult and want to think about baptism yourself, we’d love to hear from you and offer suitable preparation and support.
If you’re not yet sure whether it is right for your child to be christened, please talk to us – if you’d prefer simply to come to church and thank God for your new arrival, we’re happy to offer a Service of Thanksgiving for a Child. Baptism can follow later, when you and they are ready.
Please feel free to explore with us the next step in your Christian journey. This could include the public step of Confirmation, joining a small group to discuss Christian faith and life, joining us at Church one day, or trying Rejesus (http://www.rejesus.co.uk).
The do-nothing option
You could go away and decide to do nothing. We won’t be offended, and you’re still always welcome at church, but just ask yourself: your new arrival has changed your life – is God trying to get a word in edgeways?
The celebration option
You want to come to church, say “thank you” and celebrate the new arrival publicly (and by name) with family and friends – but you…
- aren’t too sure what you believe and want to find out more
- want your children to decide for themselves later on;
- want a family occasion but worry that having the baby christened might be a bit hypocritical!
Here’s where the church’s “Service of Thanksgiving” might suit – it’s simple but special, you can invite family and friends, have (unofficial) godparents; and baptism can always follow later, if you decide. Just ask, and we’ll sort things out for you.
The lifestyle option
You’re fairly sure you want us to christen your child? That’ll affect your lifestyle, so you need to think things through.
Specifically, you (and the godparents*) need to be happy
– to say you intend to put God first in daily life
– to promise to help your child become an active Christian in the church family (with the help of the rest of us)
– to join in the service and declare your Christian faith
If that’s right for you, we’d be delighted to go ahead.
*Godparents represent the whole church – they must have been baptised, and should be active as Christians, but you choose them
First: we’ll book a provisional date and do some paperwork. Our Baptism team do this at our 10am service on Sundays. Come as a family, or bring grandma or a friend if that works better – a second pair of hands helps!
Second: you need to come to a preparation evening.. This happens once a month in church (we’ll confirm the date); it lasts about an hour, and is for both parents (plus godparents if possible) – but not baby, please, as we get too distracted. We’ll show you a DVD, talk about the service, and about what a living faith in God can mean for you and your child. We’ll also look at how the church tries to help parents and children, and offer practical tips about children in church.
Third: two or three weeks before the christening, we’d like you to come to the 10am service as a family and make yourself known; you’ll get a very brief welcome from the congregation, and we’ll say a prayer for you; it’s a chance to find out what church with a small child is like (there’s a crèche if need be!).
If you live in another parish, you and we need to be sure that you plan to make your spiritual “home” here; we ask you to get in touch with the church there and ask their support straight away
If you have a primary-age child, we’ll discuss the options, with a view to involving you all in church life and in the preparation; their baptism will normally be in our 10am Sunday service.
Secondary age children and adults normally have an extended preparation leading up to baptism and confirmation by the bishop.
St Bartholomew’s is a small church; we have a fair number of baptisms, and often lots of guests. So – unlike most churches – we can’t always do baptisms during our main Sunday worship. Instead, we have a special service, lasting around 35 minutes, once or twice a month at 12 noon, normally with two families involved. But we’re always happy to find a date for a baptism (with a favourite hymn) in one of our 10am services – so please ask.
On the day, we do our best to make everyone feel at home. Please aim to be there ten minutes in advance, and ask your guests to be in church promptly.
The service is child-friendly (we can cope with crying, and there’s no dress code); there’s a photo-opportunity afterwards (with the vicar, if you want) – this means the service goes ahead without the distraction of photos (or phones).
PS There ‘s no charge for a Baptism, but at the end of the service we do have a collection to help keep our church open to all (and our vicar fed). It’s a great boost to us if you use the GiftAid envelopes in the pews – the Chancellor adds £2.50 to every £10 you put in.