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What is Baptism?

Baptism is when a young person or an adult is welcomed into the church. It is a chance to thank God for the gift of life and to celebrate God's love. For young children, Parents and Godparents take on responsibilities on behalf of the child.

Godparents

Babies cannot express their own wishes about being baptised, nor can they make the promises to follow Christ that are required at Baptism. Each child has the promises made on his or her behalf by Parents and Godparents. Adults being baptised make these promises for themselves and, so, do not require Godparents, but may be supported by a Sponsor.

Godparents are friends or family chosen by the Parents to help with the spiritual side of bringing up a child. In time it is hoped your child will discover the beauty and value of the Christian faith for themselves and may then seek to be Confirmed in that.

The Church traditionally requires at least three Godparents: two of the same sex as the child, and one of the opposite sex. Parents can also be Godparents.

Godparents have been chosen in the past for their wealth or their ability to look after the child in the event of the Parents' death. Today, the Church is more focused on the spiritual needs of the child (in the widest sense of the word) and suggests that Parents choose Godparents who will make a real and life-long commitment to the well-being of their child.

In the Baptism service Parents and Godparents are reminded of their duties in these words: "The children whom you have brought for baptism depend chiefly on you for the help and encouragement they need. Are you willing to give it to them by your prayers, by your example and by your teaching?"

When do Baptisms take place?

Baptisms at St Columba take place during the main 10.00am Service on an agreed Sunday. Numbers are limited to two or three families per service. It is a policy of the Anglican Church to celebrate Baptisms as a part of Sunday worship, in rare circumstances a Baptism may be held elsewhere.

Preparation

At St Columba we highly value the sacrament of Baptism, and your interest in it for your child or your self. We believe that Baptism should not be entered into lightly, and so suggest that you take the time to prepare well for this occasion. Before making any plans about times or dates or the choice of Godparents, you should first consult with one of the St Columba Priests who will run through all the details with you. Depending on the circumstances, preparation will vary from a conversation with the Priest about the meaning of Baptism and the content of the Service, to a series of classes on Baptism and the Christian faith.

What happens at a Baptism?

The central act of the service is always the same. Parents and Godparents, or the Sponsor, gather round the font with the candidate. A Priest then pours the water over the candidate's forhead, and declares:"I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

Pouring the water (a reminder of the ancient baptisms in the river Jordan) gives the sacrament its name of baptism, from the Greek word for submerging in water. This symbolises the cleansing inspiration of new life in God, and the mystical union with Christ through his death and resurrection.

The Priest then makes the sign of the Cross on the person's forehead to show a bodily connection in the here and now with the person of Jesus. Finally a lighted candle is presented, to remind the person that 'Christ is the light of the world', and that the newly baptised, too, should shine as a light in the world to the glory of God. The Priest and congregation then welcome the newly baptised into full membership of the church.

*A Sacrament is the visible expression of a spiritual reality, an outward action which symbolises the working of God's grace. The other principal sacrament is Holy Communion.

When to be Baptised?

There is no right age at which to be baptised. Child or adult, God loves each one of us and welcomes us into the Church at any age.

How do I arrange a Baptism?

If you want to arrange a Baptism, initial enquiries may be made to the Vicar or one of the St Columba Priests, by calling (09) 376-4229 or emailing office@saintcolumbas.org.nz. Following this, a date for the Baptism may be booked. Parents have usually thought a lot before deciding to have their child Baptised, and the Priest will visit you to talk about the significance and meaning of Baptism.

How much does a Baptism cost?

The Sacrament of Baptism is free but a donation to the church of $100 is requested for certificates, candles and administration of the Baptism. On the rare occasion of a Baptism being held at a place other than the church, a celebrant's fee will be required.

Service of Thanksgiving

Parents who feel it is not appropriate for them to make the full Baptismal promises of Church membership on behalf of their child can take advantage of another possibility. St Columba offers a Naming Service or 'Thanksgiving for the Birth of a Child' and a similar service for use after an Adoption. These services leave open the option of Baptism at a later date.

To find out more contact us to make an appointment with the Vicar.

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