If you are thinking of baptism (sometimes called Christening) for either your child or yourself then we hope that the following frequently asked questions and their answers will help you in embarking on this path. Remember, if the following do not address a particular concern, feel free to contact the Parish Office (details below) who will be only too pleased to try and help answer your specific questions. Alternatively, send your question via the ‘Contact Us‘ page.
What is holy baptism?
Baptism is a celebration of life and Christian faith and it introduces you or your child to the church. It is therefore a thanksgiving and welcome that involves certain promises and commitments. It is also an indication to your family, friends and others of an intention for either you or your child to follow the Christian faith.
Can anyone be baptised at St Benedict’s?
If you live in our village of Wombourne you can be baptised at St. Benedict’s. Otherwise you need to be a regular worshipper at the church or have a very strong family connection to St. Benedict’s, for instance your parents are regular worshippers at the church.
How do I go about having my child baptised?
Firstly, contact the Parish Office to book a place at a Baptism Preparation class. You can contact the Parish Office by telephoning 01902 897700, by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling in during office opening hours. The Parish Office is open each weekday from 9.30 a.m. to 12.00 noon.
Where is the Parish Office?
The Parish Office is situated in the Wombourne Institute, Church Road, Wombourne, WV5 9EZ (it is the cream building to the left of the church as you face the buildings) and entry is by the side door.
What does a Baptism Preparation class entail?
Well, the first thing to say is that you will only need to book into and attend one Baptism Preparation class but, in the case of a child, both parents will be expected to attend as having a child baptised is a joint parental decision. Sessions are held on the first Tuesday of each month in the Wombourne Institute (entry by the side door) and places are limited to a maximum of six couples. They commence at 8.00 p.m., lasting for about an hour, during which topics such as the purpose of baptism, the role of godparents and the role of baptism in the life of the church are discussed. It also gives you an opportunity to ask any questions you may have.
At this meeting you will also be given a form to complete that will require certain details, e.g. full names, address, and occupation of parents etc., and details of the child/children to be baptised e.g. full name, date of birth etc. You will also be expected to nominate the people who you wish to be godparents.
You should choose godparents who will oversee the Christian upbringing of the child, setting a good personal example, encouraging them in their Christian faith and supporting them in their membership of their local church. Three godparents are the norm and the usual approach is to have two male and one female godparent for a boy and two female and one male godparent for a girl but you do not have to stick to this formula. You can have up to four godparents for each child and they can be friends, relatives or even parents, although if parents are godparents then you will need at least one other godparent. You should not ask children or teenagers to be godparents but, in exceptional circumstances, an older teenager who has been confirmed might be a suitable candidate. In this instance, you would need to discuss this with the Rector first. One thing that is essential is that each person chosen must be baptised and you will need to detail both when and where (the actual church or parish) they were baptised. If you want someone who is not baptised to have a role in the child’s Christian upbringing then they can be nominated as a ‘Special Friend’ and they will then be able to play a different part in the baptism service.
What is the role of a godparent?
Godparents are important and special people in the life of their godchild and at the baptism service the godparents will make promises to encourage their godchild to grow in faith and commit to helping them understand how to live their life in a Christian way. Alongside the godchild’s parents the role of a godparent should be to:
- Give time to their godchild to talk about the bigger questions of life – for example, questions about faith, love and hope.
- Model and encourage their godchild to develop Christian values – for example, being kind and compassionate towards others, being generous towards others in need and standing up against things that cause injustice and suffering.
- Pray for their godchild through the ups and downs of their life and their journey of faith.
- Show their godchild practically how to make good choices in life, for themselves and for others.
- Help them to learn more about the Christian faith, through their church and in other ways, such as talking to them about the Bible or what it means to pray.
Does being a godparent mean becoming a legal guardian as well?
No, godparents are not the people who will have to care for their godchild should anything happen to the parents or guardians. Arrangements for a child’s welfare and upbringing in such circumstances should be something that would normally be specified in a Will.
How much does it cost to have my child baptised?
Baptisms are free, there is no charge. However, you will be asked for a donation to the church as a ‘thank you’ for the service.
When can the baptism service take place?
It is at the Baptism Preparation class that the date and time of the baptism will be arranged. You may choose to have your child baptised as part of the Sunday morning 10.00 a.m. Family Service or in a separate Sunday afternoon service.
Whether being part of the regular Sunday morning Family Service, or as a separate afternoon service, baptism involves a greeting, readings, prayers and promises to nurture your faith or your child’s faith, by example, prayer and involvement in the life of the church. The minister will make the sign of the cross on the forehead to show that the person concerned belongs to Christ, before baptism with water to show that they have begun a new life with God. Finally the minister will present you with a candle for you or your child to show that the light of Christ has entered their life. At the end of the service baptism certificates will be given to the person baptised and to the godparents.
So how long is the service?
If the baptism is to be part of the 10.30 a.m. Family Service then this usually finishes at about 11.40 a.m. If you have a separate baptism service in the afternoon, then these last for about 40 minutes.
What may be of interest after my child has been baptised?
There are a number of things that will help your child develop in the Christian faith once your child has been baptised including the following:
Attendance at ‘Little Fish’ which is for babies and toddlers.
Finding out about and booking a place at St Benedict School Nursery.
Attending the various workshops the church conducts, usually during school holiday periods.
Attending St Benedict Biscop Sunday Club.
Exploring what is involved with Confirmation.
The form you will be given at the Baptism Preparation class will allow you to indicate whether any of the above is of interest to you. If so then the relevant member of staff will contact you in due course.
We hope you have found the above useful and that you will now be able to sign up for a Baptism Preparation class, in which case we look forward to meeting you.
Want to find out more?
Useful information can also be found on the Church of England website’