In the Church of Scotland, we offer two different options, please read below to understand the difference between a Baptism and a blessing.
Thanksgiving and Blessing
This service of thanksgiving and blessing is available if you as parent’s would like to have a church ceremony to mark the birth of your child; to give thanks for his/her life; and to make public promises to be the best parents that you can be. In this service, as minister, I will not baptise your child with water but will pray God’s blessing on your child and the whole family.
This option is for anyone, whether you have a personal faith in God or not. It is particularly appropriate if, in all honesty, you don’t intend to come to church regularly or if you’re not yet ready to make a commitment.
A service of thanksgiving and blessing is normally held during a Sunday morning service but if you prefer, it can take place in the church at another time as a private ceremony for you and your family.
We also offer a service of infant baptism to parents. If you are not members of the Church of Scotland, we would ask that you go through our five-week new members classes which is an informal gathering discussing the vows of membership. Please see the new members tab on our website for more information.
In a baptismal service, as parents, you are asked to profess your faith in Christ and to promise to bring your child up in the Christian faith and in the life of the Church. As minister, I will baptise your child by sprinkling water on his/her head. This is significant in marking your child as belonging within the Church community and as a sign of God’s love.
An infant baptism is always held during a Sunday morning service as it is an essential part of the service that your child is welcomed by the congregation into the community of faith. It is important that yourself and anyone you are inviting along knows that they will be asked to attend a full church service which includes the baptism of your child.
The difference between the two services is clear when you compare the promises you are asked to take as parent’s and as Minister, I will always discuss these with you beforehand to ensure you understand what is being asked.
Thanksgiving and Blessing
Do you receive [child’s name] as a gift from God; and in welcoming him/her into your family, do you promise to love him/her, care for him/her, and provide for him/her as best you can?
- Do you believe in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; and do you confess Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord?
- Do you present [child’s name] to be baptised, earnestly desiring that he/she may be grafted into Christ as a member of His body, the Church?
- Do you promise, depending on the grace of God, to teach [child’s name] the truths and duties of the Christian faith; and by prayer and example to bring him/her up in the love, discipline and instruction of the Lord?
In both services, the members of our congregation are also asked to take an appropriate vow. In addition, you are welcome to invite a friend or family member to act as a godparent. This is entirely optional but has become increasingly popular in recent years. If godparents are present at the service, they would be asked to make a promise to support you in keeping your vows.
Young people are very important to us as a congregation, we value them and their contribution to our church. We have a Sunday Club for children which your child would be welcome to join which is why as Minister I will ask our Sunday Club their very own vow on whether they promise to look after your child in Sunday club and to be their friend.
What happens next?
As a church, it is our responsibility to ensure that we do not ask anyone to take promises before God that they do not understand or do not mean. Ultimately it is up to myself as minister and our Kirk Session to decide if we can proceed with a baptism or a thanksgiving and blessing.
Can we please ask that you don’t make any other arrangements until the date has been agreed with myself. I will then discuss the details of the service with you and arrange an appropriate date in the diary.
If you need any more help or advice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Rev William Boyle – Email: WBoyle@churchofscotland.org.uk