In the event of you suffering a personal or family crisis, a number of church members can offer their private prayers on your behalf. They do not need to know all of the details, or even surnames. They will pray as required for you or your loved ones. Contact Liz McCaughey (07849 554079) if you would like prayers said for you or would like to join the prayer team. These names are prayed for during our Thursday morning 10.30am Holy Communion service each week.
The Clergy Team
All of our clergy can of course be contacted any time to arrange an appointment; they will be delighted to visit you and pray with you. Garden visiting is taking place at present in compliance with Covid-19 restrictions and regulations.
Our clergy team need to be advised if anyone is in hospital, discharged from hospital or are ill at home, so they can make suitable arrangements to visit. We ask that you keep clergy informed as situations change so that they can manage their time to be most effective for you.
Hoping to recommence soon in line with easing of Covid restrictions
On the fifth Sunday of the month, we conduct a service of Healing and Laying On of Hands, for those who would like to pray and receive comfort. This is a quiet and contemplative evening service where we pray for those on our Prayer Chain and offer support to those in attendance.
1. What is baptism?
‘Baptism marks the beginning of a journey with God which continues for the rest of our lives, the first step in response to God’s love.’ (BCP page 357)
Jesus was baptised in the river Jordan by John and this marked the beginning of his earthly ministry’ (Mark 1:9–11). Near the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry he commanded his disciples to ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’. (Matthew 28:18). For over two thousand years Jesus’ followers have begun their Christian lives with the sacrament of baptism. The water of baptism is a visible sign of the grace which God conveys in the sacrament. God’s gift in baptism is new birth in Christ, a new direction in life as God’s child, and a calling to be a lifelong, faithful disciple of Christ.
2. Is there a particular age for Baptism?
No. Baptism can take place at any age. In the Church of Ireland most people are baptised as infants. Children are baptised before they can answer for themselves so that they become fully included in the life of the Church. Adults who have not been baptised, or who convert to Christianity, also receive the sacrament of baptism. If they do not know whether or not they have been baptised, they should receive conditional baptism. Baptism is a sacrament which, for any individual, cannot be repeated or undone, because it represents God’s once–for–all gift and calling to those baptised. If baptised persons want to affirm their faith at a later stage, the proper procedure is to present themselves for Confirmation or to renew their baptismal vows.
3. What are godparents/sponsors?
It is both a privilege and a responsibility to be asked to be a godparent (also known as sponsor). The godparent promises to help care for the spiritual welfare of the child. It is important therefore that the godparents can answer honestly the declarations of faith and that they will be committed to supporting and praying for their godchild.
4. What happens in the Baptism service?
Baptism welcomes the candidates into the Christian family and the congregation promises to support and pray for them and their parents and godparents (or sponsors). Therefore, the baptism service ideally takes place within a time of public worship. In some situations, or in the case of an emergency baptism, it will be appropriate to have the baptism at another time. At the baptism of infants, parents and godparents are required to make promises on behalf of the child and to undertake to ‘encourage them in the life and faith of the Christian Community’ and to ‘care for them, and help them to take their place within the life and worship of Christ’s Church’ (Book of Common Prayer page 361).
As they are answering on behalf of the child, they must also affirm their own Christian faith. Those being presented for baptism will then have water poured on their heads. Water declares God’s presence in the life of the candidates and signifies that they become God’s adopted children and members of the Church. The sign of the cross is made on the forehead as a visible sign of belonging to Christ: ‘Christ claims you for his own. Receive the sign of the cross. Live as a disciple of Christ’ (BCP page 362). As baptism is the beginning of the Christian life, a lighted candle may be presented with the words ‘You have received the light of Christ; walk in this light all the days of your life. Shine as a light in the world to the glory of God the Father’ (BCP page 367).
5. What happens after baptism?
After baptism it is the responsibility of the parents, godparents and the wider Church to ensure that each newly baptised child or adult is welcomed and nurtured in the faith as a member of the local and worldwide Christian family. In the fellowship of the Christian community, it is the responsibility of the baptised to make God’s gift in baptism their own by sincere faith and resolute commitment to Christ. Otherwise God’s gift in baptism is not accepted. Baptism in the name of the Holy Trinity does not confer membership of just one denomination, but rather of the whole Christian family.
Quotations from The Book of Common Prayer 2004, © The Representative Church Body, of the Church of Ireland, 2004
The above information copyright © 2007 APCK, Church of Ireland House, Dublin
6. When are Baptism services held?
We normally hold Services of Holy Baptism at 10.30am on the first Sunday of the month, during our All-Age Worship. This allows the younger members of our parish to be there to meet the newest member of our congregation, and for families to be on hand for support. The child will be a future Creche and Sunday School pupil and will prepare for Confirmation in later years, so it is wonderful for lots of parishioners to meet them!
Our Rector would be happy to discuss times and dates for Holy Baptism with you as a member of our parish, and what it means to belong to the wider church family of St Columba’s. As Holy Baptism is a most significant service, it is important that the family are regular church attenders.
If you are considering Holy Baptism at St Columba’s and you are not a parishioner, we welcome you to join our services and to introduce yourself to our Clergy, so we can give you an opportunity to see what we are about.
We ask that families contact the Rector first before arranging dates and times of funerals. Our church is currently having a new roof fitted, which may cause disruption to normal parish use of the church building. Also, we are very strictly following Covid-19 regulations and safe practices, and so it is important that the Rector is aware of your requirements before you book a service.
The Rector will arrange a pastoral visit with you, and help you decide on the details and content of the service (for example your choice of hymns and readings), so that it aptly reflects the life of your loved one.
The church family of St Columba’s prays for you and your sad loss. May you know God’s love and peace at this difficult time, and may His comfort surround you and your family during your grief.