Baptism is the rite of passage which welcomes someone into the Christian Church and represents the beginning of a new life and Christian journey. It can take place at any point in a person's life. It is the sign that someone belongs to Christ and that is why baptism is sometimes known as christening. It is also the sign that someone has repented of (turned away from) their bad ways and has accepted that they can only do this with the help of God and his Holy Spirit.
Everyone who is going to be baptised at St James's (or their family, if a child) will be visited first by a member of the clergy and then a St James's parish visitor will follow up explaining the service and answering any questions. The parish visitor will also be a friendly face within the church community. Please contact the office to discuss baptism at St James's and have a look at the leaflet written for Being Baptised at St James's Church and the website Church of England.
At St James's, baptism preferably takes place during a Parish Communion service or occasionally as a separate service. For two years after the baptism, those baptised will receive a card and be invited to a tea party to continue to celebrate their membership of the Church.
The word baptism means to ‘dunk’ or ‘immerse’ in water. In the Anglican tradition the water is poured into a font (font comes from fountain). The font is a bowl which can be made of metal, stone, glass, etc. and can be as simple or elaborate as desired. Find out about St James's fonts on the page The font. When a baptism takes place during the Parish Communion, a smaller portable font is used at the front of the church. See the pictures above.
When someone is baptised the minister pours water on his or her head, in the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Water shows that becoming a Christian makes us 'clean' - forgiven by God. The minister then draws a cross in special oil on the forehead, as a sign of the person's new life with Christ. A candle is lit during the service and its light is a symbol of that person moving from spiritual darkness into light.