Thank you for asking about baptisms at St Stephen’s South Dulwich
According to the law and common practice in England everybody has the right to be baptised in their Parish Church. If you live in the parish of South Dulwich or if you regularly worship at this Church, you are welcome to be baptised in this Church.
Children and babies are generally baptised on Sundays at a special baptism service at 12noon, or sometimes during the main Parish Eucharist, which starts at 10am. Adults wishing to be baptised will usually be baptised and confirmed by a Bishop following a period of preparation.
Baptism is a most precious and holy Sacrament of the Church. In baptism we are born again into a new and close relationship with God through participating in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Baptism is a gift from God to his people. At the baptism service we are also anointed and blessed.
If you are considering bringing your child for baptism, you may want to consider just having your child blessed and anointed so that when he or she grows up they can make up their own mind about baptism.
In baptism we begin our lives as Christians in the Church; it is the responsibility of parents and godparents to give children who have been baptised as babies the opportunity to learn more about their faith, to learn to go to church and present themselves for confirmation. Confirmation is the completion of baptism; the Bishop comes and lays his hands on our heads, and admits us to the sacrament of the Holy Communion.
Godparents should therefore be chosen with some care. Think about whether you have someone amongst your relatives, friends or acquaintances whom you trust, and who has a live link with a church. It does not necessarily have to be a Church of England church; it might be any Christian church.
At Stephen’s we have a Sunday School, called footsteps as well as a crèche facility, these run concurrently with our main service on Sundays (10am). If you are interested in placing your child there, please come and talk to the Vicar or join us for one of our regular services and have look at what ‘being part of the church’ means.
There is no set fee for baptisms in the Church of England. Parish churches, nevertheless, have no income other than what members contribute. It is expensive to keep a church building standing and at the same time keep the mission of the Church alive. There is a collection at baptism services and families of baptism candidates may want to consider what it is worth to them to have a church living and praying in the middle of their community. At St Stephen’s we regularly pray for our community and our church and hall is used as a community facility. In addition we pay our verger working to prepare the church for the baptism and to clear up and we ask baptism families to consider making a donation of £35 to cover this cost.
If you are planning to have your child baptised at the 12noon service, it is expected that you will be present at the main Service (10am Sundays) on at least one other Sunday sometime before your baptism.
You can book your child’s baptism by attending one of our ‘surgery times’ in our church on Saturdays between 10.30 and 11.30am (not in August) or by making an appointment with the Vicar (020 8693 3797) The papers you will receive will include a Application Form for Baptism and a list of Bible passages. During the week before the baptism, one of the priests will come and visit you to explain the service and the meaning of baptism, please have your form filled in and choose a Bible passage in time for this visit.
We are very much looking forward to welcoming you to St Stephen’s, South Dulwich.