What is a baptism?


If you’re considering a baptism for yourself or for your child then firstly, congratulations! Baptism is the start of an amazing journey of faith and a special day for all your friends and family and we hope we can share in this special moment with you. Whenever it happens, whether as a baby, child or adult, baptism is at the heart of an amazing journey of faith as a follower of Jesus Christ.


You may be wondering what the difference is between a baptism and a christening… essentially they are the same thing… we usually use the word ‘christening’ to describe the service, or moment in a church service, at which a baby or young child is baptised. Whatever your age, if you wish to be baptised, water will be used, promises to follow Jesus will be made and prayers will be said.

What is a Thanksgiving Service?

Baptism isn’t right for everyone and so we also offer a special service of thanksgiving, when you can be with friends and family and ask for God’s blessing and pray for your baby or child in a special service. It’s possible to have this service instead of a christening if you decide that now isn’t the right time to have your child baptised. You might also choose this service when your baby is just born, or if you have adopted a child into your family and you want to celebrate this with special words and prayers said by a vicar in church. Whatever the reason, we would be delighted to talk to you about this service.

Who can be baptised? 

Anyone can be baptised regardless of age or stage of life. Baptism is a moment in which we acknowledge a new beginning with God and publically commit to following Jesus for the rest of our life. If you live in Great Dunmow or Barnston we would welcome a discussion about whether baptism is right for you or your child(ren). Baptisms usually happen in our main 10.30am service and it is quite possible that other families may be bringing their children for baptism on the same day as you.

What do I need to do?

At Baptism you make promises to follow Jesus and come to church regularly. If you aren't already coming to church, the first step is to start attending our Sunday services. Baptism is about beginning, or confirming, a journey of faith and as part of this you will be supported and welcomed by our wider church family. That support continues well beyond the service itself and we hope you will enjoy being a part of the church for many years to come. As such, you'll need to attend church regularly before we can set a date for a baptism service. 

Pop along to any of our Sunday services and our clergy will be happy to speak to you about baptism over coffee once the service is finished. They will ask you to complete a booking form and we will then contact you to arrange a meeting, during which we will go through the baptism service with you and you can ask any questions. We will usually set the baptism date at this meeting. As baptisms are very popular, there may be a wait of several months between enquiry and the service itself.

What about Godparents? 

At adult baptisms, sponsors are often chosen by the candidate. These are usually people who have supported you and will continue to help you live out your faith in Jesus Christ. When a child comes for baptism, the parents choose Godparents and choosing who you will ask is one of the biggest decisions you will make. 

Because of the very special role Godparents have in supporting your child’s faith journey, they must be baptised themselves and ideally they should be confirmed too. They should feel ready to make some big promises for your child in church; these will include promises to follow Jesus themselves, to pray regularly for their Godson/daughter and to help you raise your children in the Christian faith and support you in attending church regularly. 

Every child should have at least three godparents, two of the same sex and at least one of the opposite sex to your child. In addition to the three Godparents, parents may also choose 'sponsors' who do not need to be baptised themselves but will make the same promises and support the Godparents in their duties. 

What does it cost? 

Baptism services are free! We will hold a collection during the service to help us ensure that our churches are open and available so that future generations of your family can continue to call this church home. Many parents also choose to make their own donation to church funds. If you would like to do this just ask us how. 

Congratulations! Following Jesus Christ is an amazing adventure and we look forward to discussing your baptism with you.