Baptism- or Christening, as it is also known- marks the start of an individual’s Christian journey and life with God, whether they are a new born baby or fully grown adult. Baptism is one of the most important services in the Church, and takes place as part of the main 10am Parish Mass.
Baptism is an ancient rite of welcoming a person into membership of the Church. Christ himself was baptised in the river Jordan by John the Baptist, and Christians throughout the ages have been baptised with water when they have made the life-changing decision to become a Christian, follow Jesus’ teachings and enter fully into the life of the Church.
Today the Church baptises not only those who have made that decision for themselves, but also infants and young children. Because they are too young to make a decision themselves, promises are made on their behalf by their parents and godparents to raise the child as a Christian and to bring them eventually to confirmation - if they wish - when they will make an informed decision themselves.
It is also possible to arrange a service of Thanksgiving for the Birth of a Child, which is a way of expressing thanks to God for the precious gift of a child and praying for his or her future, without the full commitment that baptism or christening involves. This service can take place outside the main Parish Mass.
Please speak to Mtr Anna for further details (see contacts page for details of how to get in touch).
Admission to Communion
Baptism assures us of God’s love for us and is how we first become part of the Church family. The Mass (or communion) service we share each week is essentially a meal, the main way in which God continues to feed and nourish us. Because of this, it is appropriate that young children are admitted to communion ie that they start to receive the sacrament of bread and wine, after a series of classes to prepare them. At St Philip’s, it is our custom to admit children in school year 3 and above, normally in our Easter Day Mass.
Please speak to Mtr Anna for more details about when the classes take place.
Confirmation is the point in the Christian journey at which those who have been baptised as infants make an informed decision of their own to become a Christian and follow Christ. This could be as a teenager, or as an adult. In the Confirmation service the Bishop lays hands on the candidate and the whole Church prays for those being confirmed, that they will receive the Holy Spirit and the Spirit’s gifts to empower them to live as a Christian. Normally those being confirmed as adults who have not been baptised would be baptised by the Bishop in the same service. The confirmation service takes place annually.
Please speak to Mtr Anna about preparation for confirmation.
Marriage and Civil Partnership
Christians believe that marriage is a gift from God. In the marriage ceremony, a couple make a public declaration of lifelong commitment to love and care for each other, whatever happens. The Bible compares married love to the unconditional love of God for his people. Choosing to get married in Church affirms that God cares about your relationship. It also means that you will have the support and encouragement of the Church as you begin this new stage of your life together.
If you are interested in getting married at St Philip’s, please get in touch with the Priest-in-Charge, who will be happy to help and advise you. You may be entitled to be married at St Philip’s if you live in the parish (you can check this here: achurchnearyou.com), if you come to Mass regularly, or if you have another qualifying connection. This could include:
-You or your parents have worshipped here regularly in the past
-You were baptised or prepared for confirmation here
-You or your parents lived in the parish in the past
-Your parents or grandparents were married here
Go to yourchurchwedding.org for further information about getting married in Church, including details of fees. Please note also that if one or both of you are not British citizens or nationals of a European Economic Area (‘EEA’) then you will need to apply for a superintendent registrar’s certificate (‘SRC’) at a register office before the marriage can take place.
At the moment a service of blessing of a civil partnership or same-sex marriage is not possible in the Church of England. However, a civil partnership is just as important and serious an undertaking as a marriage, and therefore treated with equal reverence and respect. So please get in touch to discuss what form of service with prayers we can offer you and your partner.
If you have recently lost a loved one and would like to hold the funeral service in Church or at the Crematorium, or would simply like someone to say prayers with you or to talk to at this difficult time, please contact Mtr Anna. We are here to support you, and will do this as best we can. We can help you to plan the funeral or memorial service. We can also come and pray with someone who is near death, or offer last rites- this can be very comforting for those fast nearing the end of their earthly life and those around them.
Burial of ashes and Memorial Garden
If you live in the surrounding area or have a strong connection, it is possible for your loved one’s ashes to be buried in our Memorial Garden next to the Church. There is also the opportunity to have a loved one’s name engraved on the Memorial Plaques in the garden. Please contact Mtr Anna for further details.
A special service to remember our loved ones departed takes place at 4pm on Remembrance Sunday each year. At the service, we dedicate the names of those who have been added to the Memorial Plaques in the last year, and particularly remember those whose ashes have recently been buried in the garden. We invite all who have lost loved ones in the last year to the service- and, of course, all are welcome to attend, however recent or long ago your loss.