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Baptisms and Christenings
Baptism is the way we make a personal commitment to follow Jesus Christ.

Jesus was baptised in the river Jordan at the start of his teaching and ever since Christians have baptised new believers.

If an infant or child is baptised it is sometimes called a Christening.

Click on the picture to see some video of a Christening. (492k)

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As infants cannot make the decision for themselves, parents make the decision for the child, with the promise of help from special friends or family members called "God Parents" to help them. At the ceremony water is taken to the font. A thanksgiving is given over the water. The vicar baptises the child by making a sign of the cross on the forehead with water. The parents and godparents make their promises to encourage the child in the Christian faith.

When the child is old enough they confirm their belief themselves. The way they do this varies according to their church.

Sometimes a child is not baptised, as the parents do not wish to decide for the child. The parents may still want to thank God for the gift of their child and have an Infant Dedication service instead. At this service they thank God for his gift, promise to teach the child about the Christian faith and ask God to bless the child and the family it will be growing up in.

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When an adult wishes to make a statement about their faith they may choose to be baptised by full immersion. Some churches, particularly Baptist churches, have special pools under the floor. When there is going to be a baptismal service the floorboards are removed and the pool filled with water. The minister wears special waders so that he does not get too wet and also enters the water. The person being baptised enters the pool and is plunged under the water.
Click on the photo to see a video of a baptism by immersion.(596k)
The water symbolism is very powerful. The person being baptised passes through the water of death, dies to the old life without God, is raised to new life to be lived in prayerful obedience to God. God forgives the person of all past wrongs and treats them as if they had never sinned.

After baptism the baptised person is greeted by the local church and welcomed into its community.

The use of water is very important in this ceremony. The person being baptised needs the water as it symbolises the washing away of their ungodly life and celebrates a new beginning.