Information on getting your child baptised
To check availability, or book your baptism service at the Parish Church of St. Matthew’s, Worthing please contact the Parish Administrator .
If any parent wishes their child to be baptised, please see the clergy on a Sunday morning after the service. We welcome all children whose parents are willing to make the promises in the baptism service. As part of the preparation for the baptism there will be home visits to go through the service and its meaning and we expect the parents and children to come to at least three Sunday services beforehand as part of the process of the family becoming part of the church community. All baptisms in St. Matthew’s take place in the main 10.30 service.
However we recognise that many parents find it difficult with integrity to make the promised demanded at baptism. It is possible in these cases to have a service of thanksgiving instead, where we simply give thanks to God for the birth of the child. This can happen anywhere: in the main service or at home or even in the pub! We are very happy to talk through the differences in the services. Thanksgiving can also be done before a baptism; for example, very shortly after a birth, or because the birth was particularly traumatic or because a potential godparent is moving away or perhaps because the child was a miraculous conception.
If an adult wishes to be baptised, adult baptisms are usually by immersion. We often have adult baptisms at confirmation (which is the time a person baptised as an infant confesses their faith for themselves) or in St. Matthew’s a few days before the confirmation.
One last point about baptism and confirmations: there is never any fee.
|Baptism Service||£ Free||Terms & Conditions|
|Baptism Certificate (Given at the time of the service)||£ Price on application.||Terms & Conditions|
|Baptism Certificate (Short certificate given under sect 2, Baptismal Registers Measure 1961)||£ Price on application.||Terms & Conditions|
Article on Infant Baptism
Why do Anglicans baptize babies? It is a question I am asked quite often, especially as it seems the default position of evangelicals today that infant baptism is clearly unbiblical and baptism is only legitimate when adults make a commitment of faith to Christ. I beg to differ. In fact, most denominations in church history, for most of the time, have practised infant baptism. Why?
Baptism is not what we do for God, but what He does for us. This is part of what is called covenant theology and mirrors the covenant between God and his people through circumcision in the Old Testament. One of the great Reformation rediscoveries was the need for personal faith in Christ. However, in this day and age we are in dire need of the opposite as well: a corporate commitment to God and to one another in an age when community is declining. Infant baptism says precisely that. We are God’s people and children are included. One of the arguments against adult baptism is its weakness on the position of children. Dedication of infants (which is Biblical but for a few special cases rather than for all infants) does not bring the infant into the body of Christ.
Then there are the cases of the baptisms of whole households in the book of Acts (Acts 16:15 and 33; the households of Lydia and the Philippian jailer). Whilst children are not specifically mentioned, it is almost inevitable that there were children involved (even if they were the children of slaves). They were all baptized through the authority of the head of the household, rather than their own, personal commitment. These two examples are sufficient for me to believe that infant baptism was practised in the New Testament.
Many will say that infant baptism has been abused in the Anglican church, and I agree that has happened. However, that is not an argument against the proper practice of infant baptism. Baptism is not “Christianizing”, if that means the child is now a Christian. Rather the baby is under the grace of God, through the believing parents, until he or she can make their own decision. Others object that many babies do not become Christians later. True; but (sadly) many adult baptized believers slip away. Neither occurrence should prevent baptism. Parents and godparents have the duty to bring the child up knowing about and trusting in Jesus. Some parents argue they want their children to make up their own minds when they are old enough. That is a legitimate argument for non-Christians, but not for Christians. Surely we long for our children to know for themselves the most wonderful thing in life?
The argument about infant baptism is an old one, and Christians have learned to be in fellowship with one another with different beliefs. There is no obligation to have a child baptized in St. Matthew’s, and we happily and readily offer thanksgivings as a lovely marking before God of the new life. But we believe that infant baptism is the best plan laid down for children under God, and encourage all new parents in the church to consider baptism for their child.
I have deliberately said nothing about the need for immersion. Another discussion for another day!
– John Chitham