St Mary’s warmly welcomes you and your children. Young families with children are very welcome at our Sunday services and in particular on the first Sunday of each month at 10.30 am, when we celebrate our Family Service which we also call All Age Worship. This Service is prepared by the ministers and director of music is such a way that it is attractive for children and brings the message of our Faith at their level.
Baptism – Christening at St Mary’s.
But maybe you also considered having your child baptised in our church. If that’s the case the information below will certainly help you. St Mary’s church Wivenhoe reserves the last Sunday of each month (except December) as a Baptism Sunday. We leave the parents the option between the baptism as part of the Family Eucharist at 10.30 am, or as a service in the afternoon at 2.30 pm in the absence of St Mary’s church family.
If you opt for the afternoon service, we expect you to bring your child to the regular Sunday service the week after, at which your child will be welcomed in the community of Christ during a short and meaningful ceremony.
If you are not a regular churchgoer it is recommended that you attend the family services (first Sundays at 10.30 am) prior to the baptism. It will help you to familiarise yourself with the church building and you will discover the deep joy that lives in Christians. You will certainly find a warm welcome. And also after your child’s baptism our church door remains open. We hope to keep in touch and to greet you at St Mary’s again.
Good to know
St Mary’s Wivenhoe is in the Colchester Deanery in the Diocese of Chelmsford, as a church of the Church of England within the Anglican Communion.
St Mary’s is an active member of Churches Together in Wivenhoe. A baptism in the Church of England is recognised by the other Christian Churches such as the Roman-Catholic Church, the Methodist Church, the Congregational Church, United Reformed Church.
How to apply?
It is really easy to apply for a baptism. Firstly, contact Jan Marks for a date.
She is the Church’s Baptism Officer, keeps the baptism diary and will help you fill in the application form. She can be contacted on 01206-824973.
Once your application is completed Jan will liaise with the Rector who will contact you a few weeks before the baptism service. The rector will make an appointment with you as parents. At his visit he will explain what it means to be baptised in the church as a disciple of Jesus Christ. He will go through the service with you and try to answer your questions if there are any.
Where possible, Godparents are also very welcome at this meeting.
If you apply for Baptism in the afternoon we may accommodate two baptisms at the same service. From April until September we have a large number of baptism applications, so please contact us early if you want your child to be baptised in the Spring or Summer.
At what age?
The birth of a child is a cause for celebration! Parents often consider this miracle of new life as a mystery in which God’s love to his people is shown, and therefore want to mark the beginning of this new life at a Baptism service.
There is no fixed age for infant baptism. Usually parents wait at least a couple of months before asking for their baby to be christened. Others give it more time and wait until their baby is 6 months or older. We also have requests for children between 1-3 years to be baptised.
There really is no set age for baptism. At any stage of one’s life one may apply for baptism.
Important – Godparents
It is expected that you choose Godparents for your children. Traditionally 3, but 2 or 4 will also be accepted. Godparents need to be 18 or older. In order that they can fulfill their role, Godparents need be able to make the declarations and promises in the baptism service, which is why the Church of England requires all Godparents to be themselves baptised.
So Godparents need to be baptised in a Christian Church to be eligible to act as Godparent, as they help the parents in raising their children in the Christian Faith. Parents do not need to be baptised, while Godparents do.
If you would like to ask as Godparent someone who has a real interest in Christian Faith but who has not been baptised, then this person could be a baptism candidate themselves. This Godparent-to-be could receive baptism in the same service as your child or in a baptism service one or two months before. If this is the case, we need at least three months notice.
When a baby or toddler is baptised, the parents and Godparents make the promises in the baptism service on behalf of the child.
Later, from the age of 7, the child may wish to say these promises for themselves at a service of Confirmation. Once a year, the Bishop of Colchester presides at the Confirmation service at our church. Candidates for Confirmation will be prepared at confirmation preparation classes run by the church in the months before the Confirmation service. Please contact the Rector for the date of the annual confirmation service.
Baptism of Adults and Older Children
We do not only have infant baptisms but adults, older children (primary school age) and teenagers also ask to be baptised. Adults and older children will make the baptismal declarations for themselves. Therefore preparation is important. We aim for this preparation to be relaxed and enjoyable as well as informative and faith deepening.
From the age of 7 – and definitely as an adult – baptism can take place as part of the Confirmation Service which happens once a year at St Mary’s, with the Bishop of Colchester as the presiding minister.
However if you prefer to have your baptism at a separate service, confirmation may follow a few months later. For more information about being confirmed, see above under ‘Confirmation’.
We hope the above information will enable you to take the next step. Jan Marks will be very happy to discuss things further and can be contacted on the telephone number given above.