BaptismThe Parish Church of St. James Whitehaven, is delighted that you are considering baptism, whether it is for yourself or your child.  St. James welcomes the baptism (baptism is also known as ‘christening’) of infants and children as well as for adults and is committed to providing a place of welcome and hospitality in which those coming forward for baptism, together with parents and godparents can explore and grow in the Christian faith and remain faithful to their baptismal promises.


1.   What should I do first of all?
a.   Parent(s)/Adults are first encouraged to come along to the worship at St. James to ensure that they are comfortable with the type of worship and happy to make St. James their spiritual home.
b.   When you are sure this is the church for you, you should speak to the Vicar or to the Parish Administrator and they will agree a date and time and complete a Baptism application form.  
c.   We encourage Parents, and where possible Godparents, to come along to three Sunday morning services at the church which take place at 10.00am.  These services will help to give you a basic grasp of the life and worship of the Christian community and enable you to feel part of this worshipping community.

2.   Are there any special legal requirements to be baptised in the Church of England?
There is a certain legal requirement that must be met, but this shouldn’t be an obstacle to baptism.

The requirement being… Parent(s)/Adults must either be resident in the parish of St. James or a member of St. James Church. You can find out which is your parish church, by going to the church near you website and entering your postcode.  The website is:  It is also possible to have your child baptised at St. James if you have a qualifying connection to the Parish. The Administrator can advise you of this.  If you are concerned that you may not qualify, then please don’t give up and speak to the Administrator and she will do her best to help you.


3.   What does it cost to have a baptism?  
There is no Baptism fee but you may like to consider a donation towards the certificates, candles, administrative and service costs.  And towards the general running costs of the church. If this can be Gift Aided, the Church is able to provide Gift Aid forms or envelopes.

4.   Do I have to go through any special Teaching?
In baptism, God pours out his Grace upon those who come to be baptised. To prepare you for this special moment there will be some teaching.  There will also be an explanation of the order of service so that it will be familiar to you on the day.  Godparents are invited to the teaching but we recognise that it may not always be possible for Godparents to attend.  Often, the teaching may include others preparing for baptism.


5.   When do Baptisms take place?
Baptisms may take place either during the main Sunday service at 10.00am or following the main service on the second Sunday of the month at 12.00pm.


6. Do I have to be a regular Church-goer to get my child baptised?

St. James appreciates that many people who want a baptism for their child may not be regular Church-goers. Since the service of Baptism requires promises on the part of the parent(s) and godparents to bring their child up as a worshipping member of the Church and to instruct their child in the Christian faith, it is hoped that the family will join in the worshipping life of the Church at least up until the date of Baptism.  There is a Sunday School and that parents may want to consider for their children.  St. James is wonderfully friendly and will do all that it can to welcome you and your child.

7.   Is there a special number of Godparents?
It is usual for there to between three and five godparents and traditionally,  for girls to have 2 godmothers and 1 godfather and for boys to have 2 godfathers and 1 godmother.  This is merely a guideline and there may be exceptions to this.
The role of the Godparent is to pray for their godchild, to help them find their place in the Church.  It is a requirement that godparents are baptised.  If a chosen godparent is not baptised and they are committed to their role as godparent, it is possible for them to be baptised prior your child’s baptism. They will require some teaching beforehand and this can be tailored to meet their needs.  For more information, please speak to the Administrator.  

8.   Baptising Adults
The Church is aware that there are many adults who were not baptised as children. Often adults in this situation will feel like they have missed their chance for baptism.  St. James would like to reassure you that it is more and more commonplace to baptise adults and these are joyful and wonderful occasions.  Baptisms may take place during the main Sunday morning worship or at another suitable time.  Baptism preparation for adults is tailored to meet the needs of the individual.   

9.   A Service of Thanksgiving and Blessing

Many people feel they would like to give thanks for their child in Church in a very special way, to seek God’s blessings for their child and mark the occasion with a family celebration. For some people, however, baptism can feel like it is too big a commitment which they are not yet ready to make.  In this case, parents may like to consider a special service of Thanksgiving and Blessing.  This is a shorter service without the water or the promises of baptism.  A service of Thanksgiving and Blessing occurs either during the main Sunday Service at 10.00am or at other times agreed in advanced.  For more details, please speak to the Administrator.


Mrs Donna Flitcroft (Parish Administrator) 

Office hours: Wednesday and Friday 9:00am - 3:00pm 

tel: 01946 599485   email:


You may also find the Church of England website on baptisms useful-

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