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Can I have my baby christened?

Information on how to go about having your baby Christened in church, and what it means.

Read time: 2 minutes, 38 seconds

Christening, or infant baptism, is a ceremony in which the parents of a baby make solemn promises to raise their son or daughter as a follower of Jesus. In the service, the church minister or priest sprinkles water on the child’s forehead and prayers are said. The parents are not alone in making promises. They can nominate friends to be godparents. These godparents also make vows to help raise the child as a Christian. And there is an opportunity for everyone else at the church service to join in too by promising their support for the parents and godparents in this task.

The parents’ prayer and hope is that by raising the child as a Christian, when it reaches adulthood, it will be natural for it to follow Jesus for the rest of its life.

Many churches baptise young children. Others, such as the Baptist or Pentecostal churches, welcome the child into the church with a service of thanksgiving or dedication, but wait until the child is an adult and able to make a decision on their own before baptising them.

The parents’ prayer and hope is that by raising the child as a Christian, when it reaches adulthood, it will be natural for it to follow Jesus for the rest of its life.

Any parent interested in having their baby christened should talk to the minister or priest at their local church to find out more. It is an opportunity to discuss the prayers and promises involved in the service and talk more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Some churches offer parents a short course to learn more about the Christian faith before the christening takes place. Christenings and dedications usually take place as part of regular church services.

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Christianity Can I have my baby christened?
Jesus himself was baptised in the River Jordan as an adult.

The symbolism of baptism

Baptism involves either being sprinkled with water or total immersion in it. This symbolises past wrongdoings being washed away and a fresh start or new life with God. Although he had done nothing wrong, Jesus himself was baptised in the River Jordan as an adult. This is reported in three Bible books – Matthew, Mark and Luke. In Mark’s account in chapter 1 it says, ‘…Jesus came down from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised by John in the Jordan…’ It was a very significant moment in Jesus’ life because it signalled the start of his work travelling and teaching.

Jesus did not baptise anyone himself. But his attitude towards children was positive and welcoming – quite counter-cultural for its time. In the Bible book Matthew, we learn that his followers were annoyed by people bringing their children toJ esus so he could pray for them. But Jesus scolded his followers. He said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them…

Baptism was commonplace in the early Christian church. Jesus encouraged his followers to do it. It was a sign of a person choosing to follow the Christian faith. Sometimes individual adults were baptised, sometimes whole families. Some baptisms took place in rivers, some indoors using water from storage jars.