Many people were baptised (christened) as a baby but have had little contact
with the Church since. Baptism is, nevertheless, permanent and cannot be
cancelled or repeated. So, if you were baptised as a baby, in whatever church
that took place, you are still baptised and you cannot be baptised again.
Some people do not know whether they have been baptised or not. It is
important to find out from parents or older relatives and to discover where it
took place, because you may need to obtain a baptismal certificate.
From another denomination?
If you are a Christian from another denomination and feel drawn towards joining
the Church of England, the way this is done will depend partly on your present
denomination. If you have been baptised, and confirmed by a bishop, in another
denomination then, after a period of preparation, you will be received into the
Church of England, probably by a bishop during a confirmation service. If you
have not been confirmed, or even baptised, then you will be prepared for this
along with other candidates.
If you have not been baptised, that is the place to start.In the early days of the Church, new Christians were often baptised at
Easter. After a course of instruction in the faith, they publicly entered into a
new life. They repented of their sins, were assured of God's forgiveness and
were baptised, often in a river. This was a symbol that they had died to their
old life and, born again, been given a share in the Holy Spirit who came on
Jesus at his baptism and, after his resurrection, was given to his disciples.
Generally, in the early Christian centuries, those who joined the Church were
not only baptised with water: the bishop also laid his hands on them in
blessing, a rite which later developed into what we know as confirmation.
Admission to the Church was completed by their receiving Holy Communion for the
Baptism, confirmation and first communion still form the pattern today. Some
churches still receive their new adult members at Easter.
If you begin to feel you want to be received into the Church, discuss it with
the vicar or one of the parish clergy. They will probably suggest that you be
prepared for baptism and confirmation at the same time and that you join a
Every parish runs an
informal course for its confirmation candidates, usually one for adults and one
for young people. Sometimes, adult candidates are prepared individually.
You will normally be
confirmed at the same service in which you are baptised.
In most churches a baptism
takes place at the font, where water will be poured over your head. Some
churches have facilities for baptising people by immersion.
You will be asked to make
the promises of baptism, repenting of your sins and turning to Christ. You must
declare before God that you accept the Christian faith. The priest who baptises
you will call you by your name and then use the words based on Holy Scripture:
'I baptise you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.'
The baptism of adults is
normally followed immediately by confirmation and first communion.