At St Mary’s we love welcoming people into the church. There are several ways that this is done on a more formal level.
Baptism and Christening
Baptism marks the official beginning of the Christian life. It involves making a declaration of faith (such as the Apostles Creed) and promising to turn from a life without considering God, and to live a life with God at the centre. The one being baptised then either has water poured on them, or is immersed in water.
Being a Christian also means being part of church community, so baptism also marks entrance or initiation into the church. As part of this, the congregation present at the baptism welcome the one being baptised and agree to support and help them in the Christian journey. While the baptism may take place in the Anglican Church, it is generally accepted within other mainstream denominations.
For an infant or young child, the promises are made on their behalf by their parents and godparents, who also promise to bring their child up as a Christian, regularly attending church, and learning to pray and read the bible.
(For more information see the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne’s webpage)
Thanksgiving / Dedication
Some families do not wish to be greatly involved with church, but would like to mark the birth of their child in church. The ideal service for this is a Thanksgiving service. In this service, we thank God for the birth of the child, who is given God’s blessing, and we pray for the child and parents. Unlike baptism, there are no promises for parents to make, and no water is used.
Confirmation in the Anglican Church involves “confirming” one’s baptismal promises. It is an opportunity for people who were baptised as infants to make these promises for themselves. The bishop lays hands on them and prays that the Holy Spirit will continue to work in their lives. At St Mary’s, we prefer those being confirmed to be teenagers or adults, so that there is a more mature understanding of what these promises mean.
Baptism @ St Mary’s
At St Mary’s, we baptise people of all ages. Baptisms are performed as part of one of our regular services, generally the Sunday 10.30am service on the last Sunday of the month.
Parents wishing to have their children baptised are required to attend a service and will then be given a Baptism Pack containing information and application form. This will also include a preliminary discussion of dates. When the application form is returned, the date will be confirmed. There will be two visits prior to the baptism, the first including discussion about the meaning of baptism, the second going through what will happen during the baptism.
Teenagers and adults who wish to be baptised and/or confirmed will need to take part in a short course discussing what it means to be a Christian. This is so they have a clear understanding of the promises they will make.