There are lots of resources and information available which explains what baptism is. We direct you to the Church of England website where the core details are clear explained. Click here.
On this page are ideas shared by our of our local churches which add a personal touch. This area is particularly useful those who are involved in Baptism preparation and follow-up. Also to congregations who, as disciples of Jesus, can offer the biggest welcome to the family and friends of the child as they start their faith journey.
Feeling at home
The welcome given when families arrive at church is obviously very important. Families that come for baptism can be nervous when they arrive at church. Making people feel at ease helps to make the experience more relaxed and enjoyable.
Part of the welcome is making sure your visitors are aware of where facilities are e.g. toilets, nappy changing area etc. If your church is happy for photos to be taken during the service make sure the families know this – and likewise, if it is preferable to take them at the end.
You could also:
- Give out ribbons for children to wave and shake during hymns.
- If space allows, provide an area with suitable materials or toys where young children can colour or play if they become restless.
- Put together a resource bag or box containing some simple toys, colouring books, crayons or soft toys inside.
- Why not see if someone in the congregation could knit some biblical figures to go with a bible story?
- Put up a ‘congratulations on your baptism/christening’ or ‘welcome’ banner, possibly with the child’s name included.
Baptism in a bag
We put together for you a bag which contains everything a child needs to play Holy Baptism. It allows children to engage with and follow the service. Play provides children with natural opportunities to engage in meaning and to understand concepts like forgiveness, truth, love, fear, grief, happiness, right/wrong, friendship, rules, and indeed God. Through play, children learn the skills necessary to effectively participate in the world, liturgy boxes and bags provide them with the opportunity to participate in worship. The bag cost £7, email Natasha Kent to order a bag, or use this idea to create your own.
Encouraging your congregation
Encourage support from the congregation so they may be a reflection of God’s welcome and love for visiting families. Ask a congregation member to pray for a child and his or her family prior to, and after, the christening. It is good to ask different people each time. Prayer cards are available from the Church Hub.
One church gives a card accompanied by simple information such as the first name of the child, parents and godparents, the date of the christening and a short prayer to use. This is discussed and agreed with parents during the first meeting so they have the option no.
Another church allocates a Link Church Member (member of the congregation) who will with invite each family to subsequent appropriate services, delivering cards etc.