Sue Collett is our new Baptism Co-ordinator and she is the first point of contact for baptism requests and looks after the admin as well as supporting families and answering their queries. If you would like to know more about booking a baptism (Christening) or know someone else who does please ask them to contact Sue.
New guidance is being issued each time Government Guidance is amended. This impacts the two churches in different ways. It is important to note that whilst restrictions are intended to be lifted by June 21st, mitigations are not, in other words, facemasks will still need to be worn, social distancing still needs to be adhered to and at present we do not know when singing by the congregation will be allowed in church, some of these rules may well remain in place for the rest of the year or into 2022.
At Hanslope we are able to offer a Christening as usual at the main11.00am service, with the party being a maximum of twenty people. We would need to a complete list of attendees with contact details in household groups at least seven days in advance so we can book them in to the service to cover our Test & Trace responsibilities and to ensure there is seating capacity, before the regular congregation book in. We can reserve seats for Baptism Party members near the font.
At Castlethorpe we have real capacity constraints as the building is so much smaller and the normal 9.30am service has been split into two, at 9.00am and 10.00am the latter. Unusually I would be willing to baptise at another time, however the Government are aware that family occasions or life cycle events will by their nature involve greater interaction with friends and family which is why the number of attendees is capped. If a family chooses to have their life cycle event as a private ceremony then the maximum legal attendance is 30, in reality as the building is small we can probably only fit in about 25 people.
At Castlethorpe then, the realistic options are:
- A baptism during the early afternoon with 25 people in total present plus the Priest. We would need a set of contact details for Test & Trace foe each person present. Social distancing must be observed. This option becomes available on Sundays after May 18th if the current Road Map is not delayed.
- A baptism held at Hanslope’s 11.00am Mass on Sundays as above with around 24 people able to attend available from April 11th onwards.
Anyone booking a Baptism will need to be aware that last minute changes might lead to the cancellation of all Public Worship or numbers to be limited further and that this will be beyond our control.
Having your child Baptised (Christened) At Hanslope & Castlethorpe: Some FAQs
- Some people say Christening, others say Baptism, is there a difference? No, not really. The Church normally uses the word baptism as it is the word the Bible uses.
- Do the parents have to be baptised? No there is no requirement for parents to be baptised themselves.
- How many godparents do I need? The tradition is to have three, two of the sex of the child and the third of the opposite sex, although you may have more than three if you wish. However, in Church Law the minimum is in fact only two. It is also possible for one parent to be a godparent too. So you have plenty of flexibility.
- Do Godparents have to be baptised?Yes they do. Only someone who is themselves baptised can make the Godparents’ promises.Anyone who isn’t baptised can still be included in the ceremony as a ‘Supporting Adult’ they make a non-religious commitment to support your child. You still need to have the minimum two Godparents however.If you have a prospective Godparent who would like to be baptised I am happy to meet with them and prepare them for baptism too prior to or even at your child’s baptism.
- Do I need to be married? Of course not! This ceremony is about your child and not about your marital status. The Church is keen for all children to be nurtured in a loving and caring environment. Inviting God into your family life through asking for baptism for your child is a very positive thing.
- How much does it cost? There is no charge. Baptism is offered as a free gift from God. There will be a collection during the service and if you want to make an offering in thanksgiving for your child’s birth you are, of course, welcome to do so, but there is no expectation that you should.
- When does it take place? We always baptise at the main Sunday morning services, 9.30am at Castlethorpe and 11.00am at Hanslope. It is important to remember that when you are baptised you are baptised into something, that something is the Church (the people of God who are the body of Jesus in the world today) and therefore we baptise when the Church is gathered together, to celebrate and welcome a new member.
- Do I have to come to church regularly? There is no obligation to worship regularly. You will be invited to come along to a Sunday Service before the Baptism. This will allow your child to become used to the church environment and will mean they, and you, will be more relaxed and comfortable on the day. It also means you will meet and get to know other local people.
- I am nervous about coming to church, will it be full of old ladies with hats? How will I know what to do? There is nothing to worry about! Both churches have people of all ages worshipping at them and hats are really quite rare these days! You are welcome to dress smartly for church or simply to come as you are, God is much more interested in what is in your heart rather than what you are wearing!Our service booklets are quite easy to follow and if there isn’t someone you know then sit near the back you can see what everyone else is doing and copy them! Lots of people have joined our two churches in recent years, so people around you will remember how it feels to be new! If you are lost just ask someone, they won’t bite.
- Do I have to attend a training course? No. Our Baptism Coordinator will meet with you before the ceremony to talk it through with you and answer any questions you might have. They will also offer you a walk through in church a day or two before the planned date, if you would like that. Fr Gary will also call and see you and meet up with for a rehearsal.