Can I have hymns at the baptism service?
What we find works well is to sing hymns and songs unaccompanied
- then it isn’t simply a duo with just myself at the
front and the organist at the back of the church!
If you would
like to sing hymns then we can discuss this, and together choose
hymns which have appropriate words for the occasion and tunes
which most people know.
You may be surprised at how good at
singing your family and friends are!
What happens if I live in another parish?
The key question is to be clear about which Church Family you
will be joining as you fulfil the vows you have taken in the
It may be that you got married in our parish and so you would
like to have the baptism of your child in the same church as
your wedding. But now you live some distance away so that it
is not practical for you to make a regular (monthly) commitment
to worship here. In this case, the obvious long-term arrangement
will be for you to join your local Church Family.
The way forward to fulfil your desire to have your child baptised
in this parish is for you to let me know the name and telephone
number of your local Rector or Vicar. I will then telephone
him or her and let him or her know about your request and seek
his or her approval for the baptism to be held here. He or
she will probably want to know about the baptism preparation
arrangements, and we can work out if that is best done here
or in your local parish. Then, after the baptism, I will post
the baptism certificate to your local church for you to receive
it in the context of one of their Sunday services. In this
way you will have the chance to get to know the members of
your local Church Family and build up links with them.
If you live more locally then it is not so much a question
of distance as where you feel welcome and where you want to
belong. Traditionally, the ministry of the Church of England
has been organised according to parishes, each with its distinct
boundaries. This arrangement still continues, but my colleagues
and I recognise that there is now a lot of overlap. In centuries
past, the villages in this region of the North Downs were small
farming communities that were largely independent and had separate
identities. However, in recent times there have been great
changes. We may live in one village, our children may go to
school in another village, and we may go to the bank and shops
in yet another location. This is especially true of our local
area covering the communities of Hartley, Fawkham, New Ash
Green, Longfield and New Barn.
In terms of baptism, the most important thing is to discover
where you feel most at home and where you will be happy fulfilling
your vows to bring up your child within the life of the Church.
This is often your own parish church, on the basis that the
other families you will soon get to know will be those you
will meet elsewhere in the local community e.g. at the toddler
group, at the local playgroup, at the school gate, at Brownies/Beavers,
and so on. The Church Family is a vital part of the local community,
and the friendships you will make here will last over many
years as your family grows up.
The churches in our area belong to a deanery and we work closely
together. We recognise that our Church Families are made up
of members drawn from the different villages in our area. Our
chief concern is that you will find a Church Family where you
will feel at home and where your faith will be nurtured over
the years. If you live in a nearby but different parish and
would like your child to be baptised in our parish, as a matter
of courtesy I will let my colleague know, and we can take things
on from there. Our aim is to work together to support you and
What do we do now?
If you would like to arrange to have your child baptised in
our parish, then I suggest that the best way to contact me
is to send me your details on the form that can be found here
and then come along to one of our 'Family
Services' on a Sunday and
to join in with our Church Family worship, and will then be
able to arrange a time to meet with you to discuss the baptism
in more detail. Details of all our services can be found by