Baptisms take place at both Withyham and Blackham Churches and mark the start of the Christian journey for that individual, whether it be for an infant, child or adult.
The baptism service speaks of the need for repentance and the receiving of forgiveness - symbolised by the washing away of sin with water - the undertaking to turn away from sin and renouncing all that is wrong. When an infant or child is baptised, the parents and godparents make certain promises on the child's behalf. To make these promises does not mean that parents have to be regular church-goers, but it does mean that they intend to bring up their children within the Christian Faith.
Families are encouraged to hold baptisms during Family Services (on the 2nd and 4th Sunday at 10am at Withyham), particularly if the family lives locally. However, it is recognised that this is not always easy, with families perhaps travelling a long distance to attend. Services at other times are therefore possible - often at 12.30pm or 3.00pm on a Sunday. In these cases, there is no one else present; the organist and choir are not normally available, but a hymn can be sung using the Church PA system. It is also possible to have a baptism at Blackham.
Prior to the service the Rector, James Campbell, will meet the parents, either in their home or at the Rectory whichever is more convenient. He will take the names of the godparents and go through the service carefully. For infants and children, there are often two godparents of the same sex and one of the opposite sex; however, there can be more or less than that number.
A Service of Thanksgiving for the Birth of a Child is also available for those not ready to make the promises that are asked in the Baptism Service.
In the case of adults, whilst baptism alone is quite possible, it is more normal practice for it to take place within the context of Confirmation.
There is no charge for baptism; however, a plate is left at the back of the Church for any donations towards the upkeep of the building.
Please get in touch with the Rector, James Campbell if you have any questions and would like to discuss date availability.