FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT BAPTISM
Q. What is the difference between baptism and christening?
A. Nothing. These are two different terms for the same thing. The Anglican church prefers to use the term baptism which is the language used in the Bible and throughout Christian history for this rite.
Q. Do I need to be a member of St. John’s or live in Toorak in order to have my child baptised at St. John’s?
A. No. St. John’s is pleased to accept requests from anyone desiring to arrange for a baptism in our church.
Q. Do I or my partner need to be baptised?
A. Yes. One of the parents presenting a child for baptism must themselves be baptised. If neither of you are, however, please speak to the vicar about this.
Q. Do I or my partner need to be baptised Anglican?
A. No. Baptism is into the Christian faith, not a particular church or denomination. The Anglican church accepts and recognizes all Christian baptism.
Q. How old is too old for baptism?
A. There is no age limit on Holy Baptism and it is never too late to arrange a baptism. Where the candidate is able to make the vows and promises necessary for themselves, the service will be one of adult baptism. For further details regarding this please contact the vicar.
Q. Can I have a ‘private baptism’?
A. No. Baptism occurs within the context of the Christian community and thus cannot be perfromed privately. In an emergency, such as the imminent death of a person who wishes to be baptised, baptism can be performed within the context of this siutaion, such as a hospital.
Q. What if we want a time other than Sunday?
A. All baptisms at St John’s are celebrated on Sundays.
Q. Can I have the baptism during a Sunday service?
A. Yes, of course! Unless there is something special happening that prevents it, any Sunday service at either 8am or 10am may include a baptism.
Q. How long will the service be if the baptism is to be during a Sunday service?
A. The 8am service usually concludes before 9am. The 10am service is the main service of the day and is slightly longer, concluding around 11.15am. In addition to the baptism, the service will include hymns, readings from the Bible, a sermon, and Holy Communion.
Q. Does my child have to wear white, or other special clothing?
A. No. Many families dress the child to be baptised in a white gown, but the clothing worn is entirely at the discretion of the family bringing the child for baptism.
Q. Do I need to bring a candle?
A. No. The church will supply a candle to be lit during the baptism, however some families like to provide their own candle, and that is fine.
Q. Who are the sponsors?
A. At the baptism of a child the parent or parents of the child together with the godparents are collectively the sponsors. Together, the sponsors present the child for baptism and make the necessary vows and promises at the service. At an adult baptism there are no godparents but there may be one or more sponsors supporting the candidate.
Q. How many godparents should I have?
A. This is up to you. Traditionally there are two godparents of the same gender as the child being baptised, and one of the other.
Q. Do I have to have godparents?
A. No. The parent or parents will act as sponsors and assume this role. If the parents are acting as sponsors atleast one of them must be baptised.
Q. Do the godparents have to be Anglicans?
A. No, but they should be Christian.
Q. Do the godparents have to be baptised?
A. Yes, they do. The godparents role is to support the candidate in his or her faith, attend church with the candidate, and offer regular prayer for them, so it logically follows they ought to be themselves practicing Christians. The godparents may be baptised in any Christian denomination.
Q. Is there a fee for baptism at St. John’s?
A. No. As baptism is a sacrament of the church, no fee is applied for its celebration. Most families do, however, make a donation to the church. This can be left with the priest on the day of the baptism, or if the baptism is taking place during a Sunday service of worship, placed in the offertory bowl when the collection is taken up. Donations in thanksgiving for Holy Baptism, of any size, are gratefully received. A suggested donation is $200.00. If you would like to give a more substantial donation to the life of the church in thanksgiving for the baptism, please talk to the vicar.