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23.10.13

Top 10 facts about Christenings

Back in July The Artsy Honker had a go a rewriting the CofE FAQ on baptism.

Here is my less reverent take on it:



1. What is the difference between a baptism and a christening?
Baptism is when someone is submerged in running water, or has water poured over them in the name of God, Father Son and Holy Spirit. Christening is when a bottle of champagne is smashed on the pointy end of a ship. Your local church will be happy to provide either service for your family. 
2. What is baptism?
Baptism is one of the most holy encounters with the living God given to us by Jesus himself. It marks our coming into the family of the church as we are born again by water and the spirit.
3. What happens in the service?
Oh all sorts. Depends where you have it to be honest. Oil, candles, exorcism, and the bit with the water. Because our official liturgy is a bit of a mess you never know quite what you will get.
4. Does a christening give my baby a name?
No. Or maybe yes. Depends. You may be asked to 'Name this Child', and sometimes parents talk about the meaning of the name in the light of their own Christian faith. It's brilliant.
5. Who is allowed to have a christening service?
Everyone. However the words that you will say assume that you and the Godparents are followers of Jesus who join together with other Christians as a part of your life. Just like the words at a Marriage service assume that you love your spouse and intend to live with them for ever.
6. How much does a christening service cost?
Everything. To follow Jesus as a family is to give your entire life to God. But it is worth it and it is amazing!
7. Where can I hold the christening?
You live in a parish, which is sort of a Church territory. You can have a child baptised in your parish church. This may not be your nearest church. Or a pretty one. Alternatively you can have your prince or princess baptized at the Chapel Royal by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

8.
 When can I have a christening?
Children of Christian parents can be baptized at any age, some parents choose to wait until they are old enough to answer for themselves. Any Vicar worth their salt will ask a child who can speak for themselves if they wish to follow Jesus and be baptized. They may well struggle with this if they have never been to church before.
The service ought to be held as part of a main Sunday service. Unless the Church has 6 baptisms a month and really can't fit them all in. This isn't helping is it?
9. What about godparents?
Godparents will be promising to help the child grow as a Christian, and be part of God's family the Church. They will be proclaiming that they are followers of Jesus. So it's a bit like asking who the bride should be at a wedding - Godparents should love Jesus and want to follow him for the rest of their lives.
10. How do I arrange a christening?
Come to Church.