Christenings & Baptisms

What is the difference between a baptism and a christening?

The whole service is a ‘Christening’ service and the ‘Baptism’ happens as part of that. The baptism is the part of the service involving water and the font. It’s similar to the way a ‘marriage’ happens as part of a ‘wedding’ service!


Is it only babies who can be baptised?

No, you can be baptised at any age (but you can only be baptised once). If you are an adult, you don’t need godparents (although you can ask people to act as sponsors or supporters if you wish).


Does baptism have to happen in a Sunday service?

That is one option, but you might prefer a personal service at another time. Just contact us to discuss the options.


How much does a baptism cost?

Nothing at all. It’s free. If you chose to have a party afterwards, then obviously that might cost something though. Any donations to the church are however gratefully received. 


Do you need to wear special clothes?

No. What you wear is up to you.


What is a thanksgiving service?

This is a special service to give thanks for the birth of a baby or child, for when the parents prefer to wait and not have their young child baptised as yet.


Do I need to attend classes?

At St Leonard’s we don’t run classes, instead you will usually have at least one meeting with the vicar. You do need to be happy to make promises for yourself and your child.


Do both parents have to agree to having their baby or child baptised?

The simple answer is ‘yes’, but if this is difficult then please talk to the vicar.


Can anyone be a godparent and how many can we have?

You need at least two godparents for a child - one male and one female. You can have more and most people have three or four. Godparents need to be baptised themselves and they should be happy to make the promises in the service, for themselves and for the child. This means people of other faiths (or committed atheists) would almost certainly prefer not to be godparents. There is no official age limit (a godparent simply has to understand the promises they are making) and parents can also act as godparents to their own child - as can any other family member.


Do we have to come to church regularly to ask for a baptism?

No, but you’d like to come to church, we would absolutely love to see you. Visiting beforehand also gets everyone used to the building and how services work. Our Sunday service is at 10 a.m. and we offer activities for primary age children and a children’s corner. 


Can we choose our own music and readings?

Absolutely. One reading needs to be from the Bible, but it is great to personalise the service. 


Can more than one person be baptised at a time?

Yes. And you can also have a baptism as part of a wedding service and have one big celebration!


If you’d like to talk about any of this, or organise a Christening, then please contact the vicar.


All you need to know about christenings/baptisms from the Church of England

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