Christenings

Having your baby baptised, christened  or dedicated at St Oswald’s

One of the joyful aspects of life in church is seeing babies and children come to be welcomed into the church family. We hold many such services throughout the year and are always happy to talk to parents who want to make this commitment on behalf of their child. We are also delighted to baptise adults who want to make a public declaration of a new found faith.

Many people are confused about the difference between a baptism and a christening. Actually both words mean the same thing!  For a baby, a ‘baptism’ is a ‘christening’ by another name. But when older children or adults choose to be affirm their faith, then its always called a ‘baptism’ not a ‘christening’. There are several stories of adults (including Jesus himself) being baptised in the Bible  (Luke 3: 21-23, Acts: 8:26-40, Acts 16:29-34)

Often people don’t really know exactly what baptism/christening involves. When you stand up in church and take part in such a service, you are saying very powerful vows on behalf of your child that should not be taken lightly. For this reason we ask all parents seeking to have their child baptised to come to a short ‘baptism preparation’ course. This is very informal and give us a chance to explain little about the Christian faith and what it means to bring your child up in God’s family.

We find that sometimes, after being on the course, some parents chose instead to have a ‘thanksgiving’, or ‘dedication’ service rather than a baptism. Here they can offer their thanks to God for their child; and give the child the choice to make their own baptismal vows when they are old enough to understand. These services are equally special and we value the opportunity to share the joys of family life and thank God for a precious new life.

In New Testament times people signified their Christian faith by being baptised in the local river. However in Ashbourne that was neither convenient, nor hygienic, and most of the year extremely cold! So by the time St Oswald’s was built, fonts were used, where a small amount of water could be poured over the head of a ‘convert’ signifying the baptism. When someone is baptised today at St Oswald’s they are joining thousands of people going back hundreds of years and taking their special place in the  ‘family of God’.

To find out more contact the Parish Office.