Thinking about baptism?
This tries to explain what Baptism means and it tells you some of the things you can do and think about.

Jesus was baptised in the River Jordan. He commanded his friends to go and get other people to follow him, and to baptise them.

What is Baptism?
Baptism involves water, it involves accepting God's forgiveness and love, it involves accepting a life-long commitment to following Jesus and being part of his family, the church.

It is a sign for us and for the whole world:

  • of how much God loves us
  • of his promises to us through Jesus
  • that he forgives us and makes us new
  • that he calls us and challenges us to turn to him and to belong to him
  • that we have responded to God’s invitation

we do belong to him
we have claimed his promises for ourselves
we are following Jesus
we are part of his family, the Church

It is also more than a sign:

  • Jesus himself meets us in the waters of Baptism
  • there he makes us his own
  • there he makes us members of his world-wide family and community, the Church.

Baptism does not mean that we put a special ‘magic’ on someone, to keep them safe from all harm, nor does it promise them a lifetime of good health and happiness. Nor is it simply a time for giving a child its ‘proper’ name.

Questions and promises
Because we see Baptism as something important and special, we ask the parents (or a close relative who is a member), and the congregation to promise to do all that they can to help your child to grow up knowing about Jesus, and being ready to follow him. As we do so, we have Jesus’ promise that he is always there to help us, and will forgive us when we get things wrong.

These are the questions the parents are asked:

Do you wish your child to learn about Jesus Christ, to know his forgiveness, share his love, and follow what he says?

Do you believe in one God, the Father and maker of us all, in his Son Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour, and in the Holy Spirit our Helper?

Do you promise, with God’s help, to make your home a place where they can learn about Jesus, and see in practice what it means to follow Jesus’ way of caring for and helping others, and will you encourage them to be part of his family the Church?

As a congregation we all promise to welcome your child into our fellowship at all times, to pray for them and to ensure that here they can learn about God and will find the love of God.

How do we arrange the Baptism?
The first step is to speak to the Minister, either after the end of the service on a Sunday, or by telephone on 01475 717229. The Minister will then arrange to come and see you to discuss matters further.

Do I have to be a church member to have my children baptised?
Strictly, yes you do, because the church believes that the example given by the early church in the Bible indicates that children were baptised when their parents were part of the life of the local church.

Many ministers try to find ways to help families to meet this requirement: perhaps asking a family member who is a church member (Granny or Auntie) to make the promises, or agreeing to baptise the child before the parents formally become church members – on the understanding that at the first available opportunity the parents will attend a New Members Class and join.

We are looking for people to be part of the local church community, not just go through a procedure to have names added to a list. If the parents cannot see themselves joining the church or being part of its life on a continuing basis, then we might explore with them whether a Baby Blessing might be more appropriate.

Can we have the Baptism on a Saturday, or midweek, or Sunday afternoon?
It is the Church of Scotland's usual practice to have baptism as part of the main service in church on Sunday .

What is the difference between Baptism and Baby Blessing?
Some families are reluctant to take the baptismal vows, or to commit themselves to being part of the local church on a regular basis – but they still feel they wish to celebrate the birth of a new life, and ask God's blessing on him/her.

So the church has made available the opportunity for families to do that – probably in church in the main service, but also at home or in church at a time other than the main service.