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Baptisms, Weddings & Funerals

Baptisms & Thanksgiving

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BAPTISMS


Jesus said, “...go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age...” Matthew 28:19-20

Baptism (christening) is a sign of belonging to the Christian community and of dedicating our life to Christ. Since one can become a Christian at any age we baptise people from the youngest to the oldest. It is always a joy to welcome a new member to the church and baptisms at St Mary & All Saints always takes place in the main  (10.30am) service on a Sunday morning on the first, third or fifth Sunday of the month.

The baptism service contains some very serious promises about becoming a member of Christ’s Church and about the living out of the Christian faith. Children cannot make these promises or a statement of faith in Jesus for themselves and so require parents and godparents to do this on their behalf. During the service, parents and godparents are asked to declare that they themselves are followers of Jesus and will bring the baby up as a member of the Christian church passing on their own faith in Jesus to their children by how they pray, live and worship in the local church community. This means that parents and Godparents must be Baptised themselves.

It is our responsibility to help parents to understand these commitments, think them through and prepare for the task before arranging a date for baptism to take place. This is done in three short classes which can take place either in your own home or in church with other families if there are several people preparing at the same time. This gives plenty of time and opportunity for you to talk through the meaning of the promises that you and the godparents will be asked to make in the service itself. Our support for you as parents continues after the Baptism as we offer several activities and opportunities for helping children to grow in their faith.

Godparents
The role of godparents is to pray for, and support their godchild, as they grow in the Christian faith. Because so much of this role involves passing on faith to the godchild, the best person is a committed Christian. According to the rules of the Church of England they must be baptized and at least one of them (or a parent) needs to be confirmed. There is no upper limit to the number of godparents a child may have but most children have between two and four. The minimum number is two, a godfather and a godmother. During the service the godparents make the same promises on behalf of themselves and their godchild as the child’s parents. It is helpful if they can attend the preparation sessions too but if this is not possible a very short session is arranged with them half an hour before the service itself.

Read more about the the core content of a typical Baptism Service including the promises and declaration of personal faith from this PDF called Baptism Vows and Promises.


THANKSGIVING FOR THE GIFT OF A CHILD


For those who feel unable to make the promises in the baptism service but would still like to thank God publicly for the birth of their baby, or adoption of a child, we offer the alternative of a Thanksgiving. This is a lovely service at which we give thanks for the arrival of the child, pray for God’s blessing and protection for the child and pray for wisdom, strength and patience for the parents.

There is provision to choose some people who are particularly special to you and your child to act as ‘sponsoring friends’ on the day. A Thanksgiving requires no promises about bringing children up within the Christian faith and there is no preparation other than a one-off meeting to arrange the service. Thanksgivings usually take place in our main 10.30am service on a Sunday morning on the second or fourth Sunday of the month.

To arrange a Baptism or Thanksgiving, if you don’t already come to church, we ask you to come along to one of our main Sunday Services (10.30am). We would love to meet you and after the service you can speak to the Vicar to arrange a time to meet and begin the process of preparing you for baptism.

Available dates can get booked up a few months in advance so please do enquire in good time.

Read more in this PDF sample of a service of Thanksgiving and Blessing.

Weddings

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Jesus said, “But at the beginning...God 'made them male and female.' 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Mark 10:6-9)

We are delighted that you are thinking of being married at St Mary and All Saints. Christian marriage is one of God’s greatest gifts to people, and we want to do everything we can to make not only your wedding day, but also your marriage, very special. To be married in church you don't have to be baptised or be a regular attendee although a church wedding does include the seeking of God's blessing upon your marriage.

We would love to talk with you about your wedding and, because we believe strongly in the importance of marriage, we would love to help you prepare not just for that special day but also for a lifelong commitment together. To this end we run a Marriage Preparation course consisting of three sessions: all couples find this to be not only extremely helpful but enjoyable too!

Applications for a wedding are welcome from any couple where at least one of them lives within the parish of Willingham or has what is known as a ‘qualifying connection’ with the parish. It is sometimes possible to perform a wedding for those who have been divorced. However, as there might be some circumstances where this would not be the case, we ask couples to spend some time speaking with the Vicar before a booking can be taken.

The Church of England has recently launched a Wedding website which you may find helpful.

Funerals

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Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)

We are sorry that you have to make an enquiry about a funeral arrangement but we hope we can support you in whatever way possible. Funeral services can take place in the church followed by a burial or cremation or they can take place at the crematorium. The first step is for you to contact the funeral director who will notify the Vicar of your needs. No two Christian funerals are alike, and at St Mary and All Saints we want to work with you to help you remember your loved one in an appropriate and personal way. This will typically involve a meeting with the Vicar who will lead the funeral service to make arrangements.

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