We are pleased that you are thinking of baptism for your child, this page tries to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about baptism at St John’s . (Christening and baptism are the same thing, just different names for the same service.)
Can my child be baptised/christened?
YES! Everyone has a right to baptism, no matter what their circumstances. (You can only be baptised once!)
Can we have the service at St.John’s Church?
Baptism usually takes place in your local parish church. If you live in St John’s parish, then your child can be baptised at St.John’s (parish boundaries are odd things so ring the rector to find out if you live within the boundaries). If you are not in St John’s parish then we can put you in touch with your local church. If you would still like the baptism at St.John’s Church then we will need to get permission from your local church before doing the baptism, this usually only happens if there is a strong link with St.John’s or some other good reason.
When will the service be?
9.30 a.m. Baptisms are usually booked 2 or 3 months in advance.
What is the service like?
The 9:30am service has hymns, communion, and a richer but more formal ceremony that lasts about an hour and fifteen minutes. Children are welcome at all our services. We will visit (or you come to us) before the service to talk in more detail about what happens.
What about godparents?
Godparents make promises with the parents, for the child and for themselves. Godparents should all have been baptised, and they should be adults. Godparents should be people who will be around for your child, people who might be able to help them as they grow and learn, especially to help them grow in faith. There is no magic number of godparents, once you have the right people, then that is the right number. Three or four is the average: two is fine if they are the right people. With two godparents there should be one of either sex, with three it is usual to have two of the same sex as the child.
What if I don’t usually go to church?
At the baptism parents and godparents make promises, we will talk them through with you before the day. Parents bringing a child for baptism promise to bring the child up “as a Christian within the family of the church.” You might want to ask yourself if this is the moment to deepen your own spiritual life. The decision on baptism is up to the parent; we will explain the promises, but we won’t “test” you or judge you. Some parents simply want to give thanks for the birth of their child and celebrate the new life, there is a service for this called a “Thanksgiving”.
What is a “Thanksgiving Service”?
Sometimes parents want to give thanks for the birth of their child, and to celebrate the new life, but do not want baptism, maybe because they cannot make the promises in good conscience, or so that their children can choose for themselves when they are older. In this case there is a service called “Thanksgiving for the Birth of a Child” that we can offer. If you want to know more about this, get in touch.
What if we are not married, or are divorced, or a one parent family?
We understand that families come in all shapes and sizes. We try not to judge or discriminate, we are honoured that you want to be with us on this important day in the life of your child.
Can we take pictures/videos?
Yes, it is fine to take photos during the baptism itself but please not during the rest of the service. If you want us to pose for photos after the service, then that is fine too, just ask.
This is an important part of any event nowadays. St.John’s does not have its own car park and sometimes parking can be difficult. If your guest can’t find a place to park in the street the Sainsbury’s pay car park five minutes walk away always has spaces on a Sunday morning
How much does it cost?
Baptism is free, God’s gift to every human, we do not expect any payment. There will be a collection at the service, and if you want to make a donation to the work of St. John’s then we welcome that. If you are a tax payer you can gift aid your donation. Gift Aid costs the giver nothing but the church gets an extra 20p for every pound that is given.
At our church we are blessed with a number of people who are key to keeping the church alive. Let me introduce some of them to you. Our Rector – Alison ChristianThis is our rector – Alison Christian. Alison has been at St. John’s for seven years but long before she came to Stanmore she knew the area well as she was born and brought up only three miles away. She is married to Richard, a hospital chaplain and has two grown-up sons. Alison has overall responsibility for the parish. This is Mina, our curate. Mina was trained as a teacher before ordination and has a particular interest in and care for young people. She is responsible, among other things, for our youth work. Mina is married to Chris, a teacher, and has three daughters.
Frances is one of our readers. What is a reader I hear you ask. A reader is a member of the laity who has been trained to assist the clergy with preaching, teaching and leading services in church. Readers do this alongside their ordinary jobs. To find out more about the ministry of readers in the Church of England you can go to the website: readers.cofe.anglican.org
We have four reader at St John’s, below are John, Michael and Jean
A robed choir leads the music at the principal services of the Church. They sing a wide variety of hymnody and choral music ranging over many centuries. The choir contributes regularly to choral festivals in the deanery and diocese. New members of all ages are always welcome and choir practices are held at 8pm on the second and fourth Friday of the month.
Why not come along and see if it is for you. The choir has members from all ages.
First Sunday Singers
The First Sunday Singers lead our All Age Worship on the first Sunday of each month. The group generally sing at the piano using microphones which lends a more relaxed atmosphere to the service which is attended by the junior church.
The hymns the group sings are chosen by the Rector and are generally ones which the children and their parents might know. The group is often asked to sing worship songs, too, whilst members of the congregation are taking communion.
Every Sunday: 8am: Holy Communion (Common Worship Order 1, Traditional). This is a modern service but uses traditional language e.g. “Thou” and “thy” rather than “You” and “yours.” It is a quiet service to start your Sunday off gently. There is no music or hymns.
Every Sunday except the first Sunday of the month: 9.30am: Parish Holy Communion (Common Worship Order 1, Contemporary). This service is the main service of worship for the parish for the whole week. It is a service of Holy Communion (also called the Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper or the Mass) with music and hymns. During the main part of the service the children have their own activities in Junior Church, joining their parents at Communion itself. Whether you are used to receiving Holy Communion or not we try to make everyone feel welcome and included. To learn more about Confirmation and Holy Communion go to “I want God in my life.”
First Sunday of the month 9.30am: All Age Communion. This is the main service as on other Sundays but during this service the children stay in all the way through the service. The service is shorter and the hymns are chosen with young and old in mind. The sermon or talk slot is aimed at the young and the young at heart!
11am Matins: From the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, this service is in traditional language. On the first Sunday of the month when there is a small choir, this is a service of choral matins with sung responses and hymns. The other Sundays it is a said service but still with hymns..
5pm Evening Services: The evening services are where we try new things alonside the older tried and trusted services. We have a different service on each Sunday of the month and we ring the changes from season to season. At the moment we have,
First Sunday: A Service with laying on of hands and prayer for healing.
Second Sunday: In at the Deep End. In depth bible study that tries to take us from the head into the heart. At present we are looking at Philippians.
Third Sunday: Choral Evensong from the Book of Common Prayer.
Fifth Sunday: Choral Evensong from the Book of Common Prayer.
10.30am Tuesday Weekday Eucharist. Said Holy Communion from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer