The Parish of Sutton with Seaford

Welcome to the first FAQs on Christening. The first question is “Can I get my child christened?”  Hello There, I’m Rev James Hollingsworth, the vicar of st Leonard’s and St Lukes in Seaford. I’ve been asked a bunch of questions about Christenings so I thought I might try and answer some of them. In These next three videos will look at – Can I get my child christened? What happens at a Baptism anyway? And What is a Baptism?

1 Can I get my child Christened? – Yes talk to me, email me, find me at one of our Toddler Groups, talk to Stefan or Derreck – you get the idea. Talk to us.

2 What does it cost? Nothing. No pounds and no pence. Its free. Interestingly It’s a requirement in Church law that its free.

3 Whats the difference between a Baptism and a Christening – Nothing we use the words interchangeably.

4 Where can I get Christened? – ideally you want to have the Christening with the Church family that is going to support you and pray for you. So have a look at St Luke’s services, have a look at St Leonard’s and see which one resonates with you. We do do some Sea baptisms but that’s seasonal and even then we will be wanting to welcome the newly christened into the family of the local Church.

  1. Can I choose which Sunday – we’re quite flexible so we’ll do our best to accommodate but you’ve got to chat with us first in case there’s something else going on.
  2. I’m not that Churchy or Religious – Fair enough. Baptism is about a journey, We’re all on a pilgrimage trying to explore what our place is in the world and where we fit in. For many people having their child christened comes from an inner voice that is calling them to explore what they do think about life and faith, Meaning and purpose, and where Jesus fits in. I can tell you that I’ve found that when people make a first move in faith that God blesses that first step and for some that helps them to begin to explore more. We’ll talk more about that in the next video.

Welcome to the 2nd FAQs on Christening – “What happens at a Baptism anyway?” In our last video I began to answer some of the FAQs such as Can I get my child Christened? This time: What happens at a Baptism anyway?  Hello There, I’m Rev James Hollingsworth, the vicar of st Leonard’s and St Lukes in Seaford.

Remember we use Baptism and Christening interchangeably. They usually take place at a main Sunday Church service at 9.30am in St Leonard’s or St Luke’s. They could happen at Messy Church on the first Saturday of the month. They have happened at Beach Church in August in the Sea!

The Christening happens at the beginning of the service. After a hymn, we gather around the font – When I say We I mean : the child, some parents, some Godparents and the vicar. And we have some promises that we say more about those in the next video.

?How many Godparents can I have – Before you ask someone to be a Godparent try to say something like – “I’m thinking about getting my child baptised, were you ever Christened or baptised, do you think its important?” And look to their response. Godparents need to be already baptised themselves– though I have baptised some Godparents before the Christening of a child so that they could be Godparents – because faith in Jesus was important to them, but they just never got round to it. So you could be the catalyst for this. But if they respond with something about how ‘Jesus is all a nonsense’. Then you can say ‘Okay’, and change the subject. Or you can say ‘We should do an Alpha course together sometime’.

You can have as many Godparents as you like usually its two of the same gender and one of the other. They do not have a legal role. They are not guardians. If you want them to be guardians then go talk to a lawyer when you sort out your Will.

After the promises have been made – I’ll talk about them in the next video – there’s a moment where I make the sign of the cross on your child’s forehead. If you like you can also do that, and maybe the Godparents would also like to do it – it’s a good way of getting physically involved in this baptism.

Oil is used for this moment of signing – in the Bible oil is used for someone to know God’s love in their lives and the spiritual protection that brings. It’s also used to show God’s call upon their lives – they have a special purpose. When we get baptised God welcomes us into His worldwide family so the oil signifies that we belong to God now. And Baptism is about us belong to the world wide family of the Church.

Then we come to the Water – I pray a prayer over the water to remind us that this is a special sacred moment – and then three times I will scoop up a handful of water and pour it over the child’s forehead.  It’s good to practice this in the bath beforehand! This is the special moment of welcoming the child into God’s family, the Church. You’re welcome to take photos. You should be aware that if we do this in St Leonard’s that it will also be on our YouTube channel.

After that you can sit back down in your chairs and the service carries on – there’s a bible reading, a short talk, some prayers, and then at the end we invite you to come back out front again. I give you a candle and a certificate to remind you and the Godparents of this day, and the local MU will give you a gift of a children’s Bible.

The bible is a good story to be reading to your child from as early as you can. It’s good for you and your faith and it will help your child with reading as well as learning about God. The Candle is a reminder that Jesus is the light of the world. You can light it at every bed time, have a few moments of prayer – giving thanks to God for the good things you’ve seen, maybe learn to give to God some of the things you’re worrying about so that you can have some peace, sleep well, and know that God will be with you again in the morning. Don’t forget to blow the candle out!

We sing a final hymn and after a final blessing – the Godparents can lead us out to the back of the Church and then on to Coffee and Cake.  In the next video I’ll explain a little more about the vows you might be saying. //

Welcome to the 3rd FAQs on Christening – “What do I have to promise at a Christening?”

At a Baptism/Christening the parents and Godparents are invited to make some promises – that’s because the child is too small to answer for themselves.

This is the 3rd video – in the first video I began to answer some of the faqs such as Can I get my child Christened? Then in the 2nd I talked a bit about: What happens at a Baptism anyway?  So Hello There, I’m Rev James Hollingsworth, the vicar of st Leonard’s and St Lukes in Seaford. So What do I have to promise at a Christening.

It might be that actually you are the one who is thinking about getting Baptised. Jesus and faith have become important to you and you’re right this would be a good next step for you. The vows are the same.

With a child, basically you and the Godparents are promising to help your child to grow up and to come to know Jesus for themselves, to know the love that God has for you, for your child, that God is watching over and giving a purpose to you and your child in becoming part of God’s family the Church.

You don’t need to be especially Religious or whatever, you do need to be up for exploring who Jesus is and how Jesus wants to bless you and your child. So the vows are about helping your child to come to Church, to live Christian values such as forgiving people, helping people, and that involves learning to worship, to pray, to read the Bible. As parents and Godparents, we try to model that so we include our children on our pilgrimage and perhaps they will make this their own faith pilgrimage.

The vows that we actually say are about Turning away from sin, Rejecting evil, Turning to Jesus Christ as our Saviour, Trusting in Him as our Lord. In return, God offers to be with us throughout our lives, when we mess up, when life is difficult and dark, when life is good. And the Church promises to be there for you too, to pray for you, help you with the vows, because we’re part of God’s family too and we’re called to love one another.

I wont have answered all your questions so maybe the next step is to email myself or Stefan or Derreck and say “Can I have a chat about a Christening?”  See you soon. And may you know God’s peace with you today.

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