Baptism (sometimes called ‘Christening’) is a simple ceremony using water to symbolise the washing away of sin.  It is a sign of turning to God and of faith in Jesus Christ our Lord.  It signifies our commitment to being a follower of Jesus throughout our lives.  Those who ask for baptism recognise their spiritual salvation depends on God’s gracious action towards us in the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross.  As the words of the baptism service say:

“Baptism with water signifies the cleansing from sin that Jesus’ death makes possible, and the new life that God gives us through the Holy Spirit.  In baptism, the promises of God are visibly signed and sealed for us.  We are joined to Christ, and made members of his body, the Church universal.”

Here at St Mary’s we emphasise that baptism, with the ongoing Christian life, is a whole church community activity so those who seek baptism need to be regular members of our church community. 

Baptism of Infants

Children are very welcome in our church community.  We have children at all our services and we delight to hear children amongst us.  Infants are baptised on the basis of faith expressed by believing parent/s and godparent/s (also called sponsors), with the understanding that their child will confirm their own personal faith in Christ when they are old enough to do so.  We therefore place high importance on the faith of parents and godparents who bring children for baptism.  This involves a time of preparation with the parents (see preparation details below).  An alternative to baptism is a ceremony of Thanksgiving for a Child.


Thanksgiving for a Child

We have found many parents are seeking to have a ceremony in which their child is honoured, and thanks given to God for the child.  This is known as a service of Thanksgiving for a child and is an alternative to baptism.  Parents are not required to make promises before God on their child’s behalf.  The Thanksgiving for a Child Service is part of our normal Sunday Service and includes the naming of your child, a prayer of thanks for your child and a prayer for the parents and for godparents. It is a significant moment in the life of a family.  As with baptism, a Thanksgiving is a significant way of recognizing the importance of the Christian faith in the child’s life.  A Thanksgiving service is available to anyone who requests it.  The service will generally be conducted as part of our 10:30 Sunday service, on the fourth Sunday of a month.  


Preparation for Baptism of Infants

The baptism service says:

“Children are baptised in response to God’s all-embracing love. Parents and godparents who have responded to that love come now to bring their child for baptism.  Before this congregation they must express their own trust and commitment to the promises of God, and their intention to bring up their child in the faith and practice of the Church.”

Parents and godparents are asked to respond yes to such questions as the following:

  1. Do you turn to Christ?
  2. Do you repent of your sins?
  3. Will you encourage your child in the life and faith of the Christian community?

These are important commitments and we as a church desire to support families in raising their children in the Christian faith.  Because we at St Mary’s take these Christian promises seriously, families need to be active and regular members of our church community.  In addition, parents will be involved in meeting with a minister from St Mary’s on at least 5 occasions to help parents understand the promises they will be making by exploring the Christian faith and life as a Christian.   

Who may be godparents (sponsors)? 
Godparents are people who live out an active faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and themselves have been baptised.  In selecting godparents, it is best to choose people who will be best placed to help your child grow in Christian faith and who will take an active interest in helping your child grow to maturity in Christ. 


What should I do next?

As a first step, we invite you to come to a service to get a sense of what our church is like.  A minister will then arrange a time to meet with you and talk about how you would like to proceed.



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.