It is a joy for us to welcome newcomers to our church congregation, whether they are babies, young people or adults. Baptisms and thanksgiving services are a special way of expressing this welcome. Because the service is one of welcome into the church it normally takes place in the first part of the main 10.30 am Sunday Worship. After the baptism or thanksgiving/blessing, the service continues with readings and an address, while children go out for their own activities and pre-school children and babies go to the crèche.
A thanksgiving or blessing is offered to all who wish to give thanks for the birth of their child and ask God’s blessing, and is offered without qualification. Some parents choose this service because they wish their child to be able to make their own decision whether to baptised, when they are old enough to consider the Christian faith for themselves. Other parents do so because they feel unable to make the promises required at the baptism of infants. The service is not a substitute for baptism, but does express the family’s thankfulness at the birth of their child, their dedication as parents and their wish for God to bless their child.
Baptism is a sacrament by which children (and people of all ages) are welcomed in the care and family of the Church, a sign of God’s love in Christ. It has been practised since the very beginning of the church, at the command of Jesus himself. From early on in the Church’s history children as well as adults were included in baptism.
The United Reformed Church observes the gospel sacrament of baptism into Christ as a gift of God, an expression of God’s love for all. Baptism is administered with water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. It is the sacrament of entry into the Church and is therefore administered once only to any person.