It is good to mark times of change in our lives because it is in those times when we are most open to God. Times when we are thankful, when we want to bring Him in to our commitment to our children and to our marriage. It is also a time when we need His help to get through the tough times of bereavement. We also mark our growing relationship with God - such as when people are baptised as believers.
This page gives details of some of the main ways we mark
important events. Maybe there are other special times too for you. Please ask
if there is some moment in life for which you would like our prayers and God's
Please contact the Minister for all these occasions through the church office Contact us
Dedication of Babies and Infants
Children are a gift from God and many parents and the wider
family want to celebrate their arrival with a special service in church. We do
not baptise babies. We follow the practice of Jesus and baptise when a person
is old enough to understand what it means to believe in God and is able to
promise to follow Him in their lives.
We have a special service of thanksgiving for new babies. This is called a Dedication Service. Parents make promises about how they will bring up their child and dedicate themselves to teaching the child about God and Jesus. Sometimes, but not always, the parents have Godparents for their child. The Dedication service is usually part of our Sunday morning service so that all the family of the church can welcome the baby and parents into the church and also make promises about their role in the baby’s’ life.
This is usually conducted as part of the Sunday service, although some people prefer a separate service. It is a sign that you want your past life to be washed clean in the waters of baptism and that you are starting a new life as a Christian and ready and willing to follow Jesus. The Minister will see you for a number of teaching and discussion times to talk through the step you are making. Family and friends are invited to the service and you will choose readings and songs. You may want to give a testimony about your faith, but only if you wish. It is a time of great rejoicing.
As Baptists we see the role of church membership as very important.
This is because each church is independent to govern themselves and to make all
decisions, although we take guidance from the Baptist Union when considering
decisions. All our discussions and decisions are done in a prayerful way and
under the guidance of the Holy Spirit at a special church meeting of members.
We do not have bishops, cardinals or a pope who are in leadership over us.
If someone wants to become a church member there is a special occasion in church when they affirm their faith and promises are made. Before this special day the Minister will talk with them about your decision to become a church member and the church will appoint two visitors to meet with them, to discuss their faith and to befriend them as they come in to the church family. The Church members meeting will give the final decision on agreeing to membership. If they are a member of another church an application will be made to have their membership transferred.
Marriage was created by God as the foundation of family life
and society. Marrying in church means you are making promises to God as well as
to each other, to love and care for each other for as long as you live. God will
bless your marriage and becomes part of the covenant that you are making with each other.
When you marry in church the Minister will want to meet with you and help as you prepare for the promises that you will make to each other and to God. These meetings give a chance to discuss the meaning and significance of marriage and to plan the service. There will also be a rehearsal for your wedding.
If one or both of you is divorced following a church marriage, with a former spouse still living, you don't have an automatic right to be married again in church. This is because the church understands that marriage is a lifelong union. However, we know that marriages do fail and everyone will have their own unique history and reasons for wanting to re- marry. The minister will review each application on its own merits. This may involve meeting with a minister more than once. But please come and talk to the minister about this.
When someone dies
This is a hard and difficult time. Some deaths can be sudden
and traumatic. People can die too young and in tragic circumstances. For others
it comes at the end of a long life and the past will be filled with loving and
happy memories. There is always the desire to say thank you for your loved one
and to commemorate their life amongst friends and family.
As Christians we believe that death is not the end. The death and resurrection of Jesus show that life with God is where we are going and that death is a stage on our journey to this fullness of life.
The Minister will work with you and the family in planning a funeral service. Some people want the funeral service at the crematorium or cemetery followed by a service of thanksgiving at the church. Others want a funeral service in the church first. In planning the service the Minister we will work with you to make sure the funeral reflects the person who has died. You will be able to choose music and readings. Often a friend or relative gives a short tribute.
The Minister is also able to conduct a short service when ashes are buried or scattered if required.
As well as funerals we can also arrange a special memorial service. We can offer support and prayer for relatives who are bereaved. At Christmas we hold a special service for those who will find this time of year particularly difficult.
We will be pleased to hear from you if you'd like to enquire more about any of these matters.