The significance of Baptism
The significance of Christian Baptism
In bringing our children for baptism, we are making a statement about our faith in the goodness of creation, and we are making a commitment to bringing up our children with Christian values. These values are expressed in the three signs of Baptism: baptism with water; anointing with Holy Oil; and the giving of a lighted candle. Each of these signs expresses aspects of life that, by taking them to heart, enable us to grow and mature as children of God, and receive all the blessings of life.
Making the sign of the cross with the Oil of Baptism
By making the sign of the cross on the crown of the child’s head, we demonstrate our belief that it is through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we receive his promise of ‘life in all its fullness’.
We use olive oil, blessed by the Bishop in the Cathedral at the annual Chrism Service on Maundy Thursday. Olive oil was a valuable natural resource in Biblical times (and still is) and symbolises strength and healing – in life we are blessed with the ability to develop our strength in body, mind, and spirit, as we grow towards maturity. If we are nurtured in an environment that recognises and values the importance of growth and learning, it will reward us our whole life long.
Baptism with water
Water is essential to life, and symbolises cleansing and refreshment. We know that everyone makes mistakes and sometimes we take a wrong turn in life, or do things that hurt other people. Christians assert that we can always experience forgiveness and make a fresh start. We cannot undo our mistakes, but we can learn from them, move on, and trust that a rich rewarding future still lies ahead.
Giving of a lighted candle
Light always dispels darkness (and not the other way round), symbolising the victory of goodness over evil, love over hate, and life over death. Our lives are most blessed when we live with generosity, kindness, forgiveness and self-sacrifice, dispelling the voices that tell us that happiness comes from prioritising our own appetites and self-interest.
The role of a Godparent
As with most things, it is our actions that carry more weight than our words, and the example that godparents give to their godchildren will be much more significant than the promises made at the christening. As well as being ready to act in loco parentisshould the need arise, a godparent has the opportunity to be an additional role-model alongside the parents, in ways that can sometimes make all the difference.
The Baptism Service
At Copleston, Christenings or Baptisms normally takes place in the context of our main Sunday service, currently 10am every Sunday morning. This is because Baptism symbolizes the beginning of your child’s Christian life within the family of the church.
In theory, by bringing your child for baptism at Copleston Centre Church you are inviting the whole family of the congregation to offer you and your child our support, as they grow and mature physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually.
In practice we recognize that many people while they value a connection to their local church, do not expect to be sufficiently involved to treat the church members as part of the family. Nevertheless, just as the godparents are often making a commitment that they may never actually be called on to make (to take on the role of parent if the need should arise), but the commitment is still very real, so too Copleston Centre Church will always be here if you or your child should ever want or need to call on us for support, or indeed if you ever want to become a more active member of the church community.