Baptismal Service at St Marys

At St Mary’s Parish Church, we offer either a Baptism service, or a Thanksgiving and Dedication service. Both of these services are sometimes referred to as a ‘Christening’.

Baptism involves the sprinkling of water on the baby as a symbolic act of cleansing and spiritual renewal. This service requires the parents and Godparents to stand in front of the church congregation and make promises about bringing up their child in the Christian faith. In order to properly do this, parents (and Godparents if they are able) are required to attend St Mary’s Church for at least four Sunday morning services in the two months prior to the Baptism service.

A date for the baptism service can be set before the required attendance, but this date can be deferred if the required attendance is not met. This is at the discretion of the clergyman liaising with the parents, and who is due to conduct the service. A certificate of Baptism is issued.

Thanksgiving and Dedication does not involve the sprinkling of water, and does not require promises from parents and Godparents. Parents and Godparents stand in front of the church congregation, prayers are said for baby and family, and the minister gives thanks to God for the child and dedicates the child to God. For this service, the four-weekly attendance is advised but not required. A certificate of Thanksgiving and Dedication is issued.

‘Baptism’ is a sacrament of the church

'Thanksgiving and Dedication’ is a popular alternative to Baptism

‘Christening’ is a common term for both services

Many people, who do not regularly attend church services themselves, but wish to have a 'Christening' for their child, will choose a Thanksgiving and Dedication service. The child in question can then choose for themselves, from the age of 13 years onwards, whether they wish to be baptised.


Local church schools accept Thanksgiving and Dedication services as a valid alternative to Baptism.

To discuss these options further, please contact Rev Don Smith, either at St Mary’s Church after the 11am service on a Sunday morning, or by telephone on 01255 679164.

Please fill in the 'Life Events Enquiry Form' below: