Our Policy for Baptism

Baptism, also known as Christening, is recognised as an important event in the life cycle of faith for every individual, their natural family, and the church or wider Christian family.

The Parish Church of St John’s, Folkestone, is delighted that you are considering baptism, whether it is for yourself or your child.  We welcome the baptism of infants and children as well as for adults and we are committed to providing a place of welcome and hospitality in which those coming forward for baptism, together with parents and godparents can explore and grow in the Christian faith and remain faithful to their baptismal promises.

We believe that baptism is a gift from God - generously given in his grace to all who will receive it. It is a picture of what God does for us when we turn to him and is also a public symbol of our determination to follow Jesus Christ. It does not matter if the faith of those seeking baptism for their child is not fully formed. The family and the child have a lifetime of opportunity to build and strengthen the little faith available at the time the baptism takes place.

We operate an open policy, welcoming and encouraging families enquiring about baptism for their child. It is our commitment to give parents enough time, teaching and back-up written information, so as to leave them in no doubt of what baptism means, and the promises that they as parents and the godparents are making before God and their families and friends.

St John’s takes seriously the concept that, at baptism, the parents and god parents, and indeed we ourselves, are promising to bring the child up in the Christian faith. For this reason we believe it is essential that the parents get involved in the life of St John’s prior to the baptism taking place.

Child and Infant Baptisms

Everyone who lives in the parish of St John’s Church is welcome to be baptized here and have their children baptised subject to appropriate preparation. There is no charge but families are welcome to give a donation to the church as they can afford.

We do not normally do baptisms where parents live outside the parish unless they are regular worshippers at St John’s or have a longstanding connection with our church.

Baptisms usually take place during Sunday morning services at 10am. We may ask you to share the occasion with other families.

In the service for infant baptism you promise that you will do what you can to bring your child up as a Christian, and we promise that we will make her/him welcome as part of the church.

Where the family is not currently attending St John’s Church, we will encourage the family to come to church to be part of and to experience worship, biblical teaching, and Christian friendship and fellowship. This introductory period will be ideally for two occasions before finally making up their mind to have their child baptised. A date will not normally be agreed for the baptism until this has been completed.

Parents are required to undertake preparation before the baptism of their children. This will usually involve two evenings at which the content and nature of the Baptism Service will be discussed and parents will be encouraged to take seriously the vows they make on behalf of the child. These vows include an undertaking to join the local community of faith by becoming part of St John’s Church.

Once the enquiring family have a little experience of church life, and have considered the promises they will be making in the Baptism Service they will be given the opportunity of having a Thanksgiving Service for the child in place of baptism if they should wish. This is a less challenging option, requiring neither preparation nor a defined level of Christian commitment, and allows for a return at a later stage in life for baptism.

Adult Baptisms

Candidates for adult baptism are expected to have an understanding of the Christian faith and a genuine desire to be fully committed followers of Christ. They will normally attend a course explaining the beliefs of Christianity before being baptized and confirmed at the next available service of confirmation.

Service of Thanksgiving

In recognition that most people bringing babies and young children for baptism do not claim a fully committed Christian faith and do not wish to become worshipping members of St John’s, we encourage parents to consider the alternative of a Service of Thanksgiving. This service allows the birth of the child to be celebrated and officially ‘named’ in a worship setting, with God’s blessing being sought for both parents and child as the family seek to grow together in faith and love.  The child is free to be baptised at a later date either when he/she is old enough to make a faith commitment for him/herself, or when the parents acknowledge a more clearly defined faith for themselves.

Further information can be obtained by contacting the Church Office.