If you live in East Cowes or Whippingham you are welcome to have your child christened at St James or St Mildred’s Church. During the Christening service your child will be baptised. We also welcome adults who want to be baptised. You don’t need to be regular church-goers, or to be christened yourself to have your child baptised.
Our baptisms usually take place during the child-friendly All Age Service. At St Mildred’s Church this is at 11:15 on the 1st Sunday of each month and at St James it’s at 9:30 on the 3rd Sunday of the month.
Baptism marks the start of a lifelong journey of faith, as parents and godparents you will promise to teach your child about faith. As a Church we are committed to supporting you and so you and your family are welcome to join us any time. We have a special toddler group on alternate Thursdays at 9:30 in the Hall at St James, including a story, songs, prayer, and time for the children to play and you to chat. For more information about Teddy Club click here.
Frequently asked questions: (adapted from the Church of England website)
- What is the difference between a Baptism and a Christening?
There is no difference between a Christening service and a Baptism service. Some churches will use the word ‘baptism’ and some the word ‘christening’. Babies are baptised during a christening service just as couples are ‘married’ during a ‘wedding’ service.
- Can anyone have a Christening service?
Yes, so long as they have not been Baptized already. The Church of England welcomes all babies, children and families for Christenings – whatever shape that family takes. You do not have to be married to ask for a Christening for your child. You do not have to be an active churchgoer – as parents, you do not even have to have been Christened yourselves. Everyone is welcome at their local church.
- What about godparents?
Godparents are some of the most important people at the Christening.
Godparents are not the people who will care for your child should anything happen to you. Arrangements for this would normally be made by a Will. Rather, they should be people who will be there for your child and help them think about the bigger questions in life – questions of love, hope and faith.
Godparents should usually be baptized themselves and old enough to make some serious promises on behalf of the child. If you would like godparents who have not been baptized please contact us.
- How much does a Christening service cost?
The good news is that a Christening service is free. There may be costs for your family party afterwards, for gifts, or for christening robes, but the church service is free.
- Where can we hold the Christening?
You can have your baby or child Christened at your local parish church and it is usually held as part of the main Sunday service. If you want to have the christening at a different church, for example, where you grew up or where you were married, you will need to talk to the vicar at that church.
If you don’t live in East Cowes or Whippingham we would always suggest you contact your local Church first.
You can find your local Church of England parish at www.achurchnearyou.com
- Can we arrange a Christening at a separate time to the Sunday service?
Baptisms are usually held during the All Age Service. If there are very good reasons why this time is not suitable please contact the vicar as we may be able to make exceptions on occasion.
- How do I arrange a Christening?
Simply contact our church wardens for more information.
- How old should my child be?
You can have your baby or child Christened at any age. There is no upper age limit, but after about the age of seven your child may be able to make the promises for themselves.
- What happens in the service?
At your baby’s Christening, water will be blessed and poured on the baby’s head – this is the baptism of your baby (the word ‘baptism’ means ‘to be immersed in water’). The baby will be signed with the cross. A candle will be given. Godparents and parents will make promises on behalf of the baby, and prayers will be offered for the baby and the family.
10. What exactly is Baptism?
Baptism marks the beginning of a journey with God which continues for the rest of our lives. This first step is a response to God’s love. It is also a celebration, a time to come together with family and friends; remembering that your child is loved by God, is part of a wider community and has a place with God’s people.