Baptisms at St Lawrence

Holy Baptism

Baptism or Christening is the beginning of a life-long journey with God and with this Church. It’s a happy event, and we hope that you’ll feel welcomed, and encouraged to return. Children are always welcome. We hope to start a Junior Church when we have accommodation for it.

What is Baptism?

  • An opportunity for a family celebration of a new life
  • A time to remember that your child is a part of God’s family, the church family
  • A ‘sacrament’, that is, a visible sign of God's love
  • A reminder that we all need to turn away from ignorance and wrong to enlightenment and a new start
  • A symbol of receiving the Holy Spirit

Should my child make the decision?

Parents make lots of decisions on behalf of a child: food, drink, clothing, education. Spiritual needs are no less important. When they’re older, there’s the opportunity for them to choose to take another step on the journey and make their affirmation of faith at a Confirmation Service. Part of the baptism service is the promise of the Christian community to support you and help you. You are not on your own.


Godparents need to have been baptised (but see below). They are asked to promise that they will love and encourage the child in the Christian faith by prayer, example and teaching. Parents should try to find people who can make the promises sincerely. The minimum is one godmother and one godfather. If you can’t think of anyone suitable, you, the parents, can yourselves be godparents. It’s not convenient to have more than four godparents.

What if I’m not baptised?

It’s never too late! Talk to the Vicar. You could be baptised first and then, at the same service, stand as Godparent for a child.

The Baptism Service

The Font

The font of the Parish Church of St. Lawrence, Great BarlowBaptism is a sign of entering the Church family, and so traditionally the font that holds the water is found near the church entrance.

The Promises

Parents and godparents stand to declare their own faith. It is important to make these promises sincerely: only you can truthfully know that. If you can’t, then Baptism is not for you: maybe you’d prefer a service of Thanksgiving for the child and a naming ceremony. The choice is yours.

Parents and godparents are asked these questions

Question 1: Do you turn to Christ? You will answer: I turn to Christ. This means: I want to change direction; I accept that my life needs guidance. I acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, and I will try to follow his teaching day by day.

Question 2: Do you repent of your sins? You will answer: I repent of my sins. This means: I'm sorry about my past mistakes, and I know that I am accountable to God for my actions and thoughts. I can never be perfect, but as I acknowledge what is wrong, I am forgiven.

Question 3: Do you renounce evil? You will answer: I renounce evil. This means thatI know that I sometimes have hard choices to make between good and evil. I want to choose wisely, turning away from evil and from now on trying always to choose the good.

The sign of the cross

The priest will make the sign of the cross on the forehead of the child using holy oil. This reminds us how Christ died on the cross. It’s the badge of our faith to remind us that we must not be ashamed of our faith, and fight against all that is evil. As athletes often use oil to prepare for a contest, so this oil is a symbol of preparation and strength. A different sort of oil is used later in the service to signify the presence of the Holy Spirit.


Water washes away the old life, and cleans us ready for the new. Holy water refreshes the parts other water cannot reach! As we cannot live without water, so this sign reminds us that we need the cleansing and renewing presence of God in our lives.

Naming of a child

You will be asked what name(s) you have chosen for your child. The minister takes the child and says: ‘N, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

The Welcome

At the end of the baptism the congregation welcomes the newly baptized into the family of God. Applause!

The Lighted Candle

A candle lit from the Paschal (Easter) Candle is given to one of the godparents. This belongs to the child and signifies Christ, the light of the world. As Christians we are to shine as lights in the world to help others see more clearly. You might like to light this candle on the anniversary of the baptism (or your child’s birthday) to remind you of the baptismal promises.


A permanent record of the baptism with family details is recorded in the official registers of the church.


There is no charge, but we ask for a donation, ideally at least £50. There is a plate by the church door to receive your donation towards the continuing work of the church (we receive no state aid). Completed Gift Aid envelopes, if you pay tax, will enable the church to reclaim tax at no extra cost to you.

Service of Thanksgiving for a Child

If you’d like to acknowledge the precious gift of a child and thank God for the joy of parenthood, but don’t feel ready for baptism, you might like to consider a service of Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child. In this service your child is blessed, but you don’t make the same promises as the Baptism service. You can always have a Baptism service later.

Who to contact?

Our Vicar, Sarah Colver (email: Sarah)

  • Around the font
  • At the Church Door
  • Family Group

Baptism at St. Lawrence, Barlow“Can I have my baby christened at your church? ”

Yes. If you live outside the parish boundary of Great Barlow (Click here for details - zoom out to see full parish boundary), please let your local vicar know that your child will be baptised at Great Barlow. We hope that you will consider St Lawrence as your parish church.

Can I choose the date and time ?

The Vicar of Barlow has many commitments on a Sunday, so you’ll have to see what she can manage. Most baptisms take place during the 11 am Sunday Mass, and that is ideal. Alternatively, baptisms can occasionally be at other times. To discuss the options more fully, contact the Vicar (see below) before you book a party venue

Who to contact?

Please contact our vicar, Sarah (email) .She will discuss possible dates, invite you to a Sunday Service, help you with the paperwork and try to answer your questions..

Our Leaflet

Our leaflet is currently under revision and will be released shortly.

Church of England Website

There's a C of E website here which may give you further help and advice.

Baptism Policy

The united Benefice's Baptism Policy is under revision.