Christian parents bring their children for baptism because they want their child/children to grow up in the Christian faith and be part of the Church... the community of faith. It is a big decision for parents to make for their child/children and involves major promises. Before any big decision it is important to think it through and be prepared.
Therefore we suggest that for baptism to have to be carried out with integrity by the church, the family and the child the following points need to be noted:
1. One or both parents should be a practising Christian, and attending Church before we explore the possibility of baptising a child. This gives the parent(s) an opportunity to decide whether they want to become members of the church family, where their child will grow in the Christian faith and come to know God, love him and serve him. St Peter's, Rhoose has an active Sunday School which parents can attend with their child. St Peter's also has a family service on the 2nd Sunday of each month at 9.45am. For whatever reason you may not be attending church at the moment. If this is the case, you are by no means alone! Come along one Sunday morning and give it a go, and then we can begin to explore baptism.
2. If parents have little or no Christian background, are not members of a church, or attending church, or perhaps have not been baptised themselves, then we can still work towards your child being baptised. In such cases parents would be expected to start attending church and participate in a short course which explores the Christian faith. This provides an opportunity for parents to understand the meaning of the promises they will be expected to make on behalf of their child, the responsibilities they are taking and also know what is going on in the service.
3. Preparing for the baptism. All parents are expected to meet with the Parish Priest or a designated member of the congregation to go through the baptism service and the promises as part of the preparation. All parents wanting to have their child baptised need to go through some form of baptismal preparation session(s).
4. When do baptism services happen? One of the main features of baptism is that the individual is joining the Church family. Baptism is a sacrament that involves the whole church community therefore baptisms should take place within the normal Sunday morning services so that the Church family can share in the joy and promises made with the parents and godparents to bring the child up within the Christian faith. However, due to the size of the two churches in the Parish it is not always possible to house guests and the regular congregation on a Sunday morning in which case a suitable alternative time will need to be arranged with the parish priest.
5. Who can be a godparent? Parents and godparents are expected to be able to respond truthfully to the promises in the baptism service. Godparents do not have to be Anglicans but all godparents should be baptised into a mainstream Christian Church, and should preferably be regular church goers themselves. The parish priest likes to meet with godparents before the baptism to go through their role in the service and the child's life. Logistically this not always possible so correspondence via phone or email can be an alternative.
6. Where can I have the baptism service? The service of baptism can be arranged to take place at St Peter's, Rhoose, St Curig's, Porthkerry or St Mary's Penmark.
A Service of Thanksgiving is offered by the Parish. This special service can apply to the following situations:1) When a child is born it can be the first service for parents and child; a chance to thank God for the gift of a new life and to give thanks for safe passage through childbirth of mother and child. The service may be in addition to baptism which may follow shortly afterwards.2) The Service of Thanksgiving can act as a dedication service for parents who are not comfortable with infant baptism or wish to wait before baptising their child.3) The Service of Thanksgiving is suitable for parents who do not yet feel able to make the promises contained in the baptism service or who do not wish to attend church regularly. The 'Thanksgiving Service' is not an initiation rite into the Christian faith like baptism but it does provide a wonderful opportunity to thank God for the birth of the child, give the child a name and pray for the child and family. This service can take place within or outside normal Sunday service times.