What is Baptism?
- a first step on the journey of faith.
- becoming a member of the church: the world-wide community of Christians, the body of Christ.
Recent ways in which Baptism has changed
The BBC website has an interesting article called 10 ways Christening has changed.
There is no charge for a service of baptism. However we do invite you to make a donation. You can do so using the Gift Aid envelopes if you are a UK taxpayer.
We do ask you not to take photos during the service, so that we can focus on celebrating the baptism in the presence of Almighty God with as few distractions as possible. However there will be a chance to take (and set up) photographs after the service has ended.
If you are the parent or legal guardian of a child who has been baptised at St. Paul's and you would like to email a photograph for use on this website, please attach it to an email. We would like to set up a "rogue's gallery" for those who have been baptised at St. Paul's. It is our policy on this website not to attach names to the photographs.
Please note that it is quite possible that there will be another family at your service. You should not expect it to be a "private" service, just for your family, your friends, your baptism candidate.
Baptism is baptism, through the death and life of Christ, into the wider family of the church, and you should not be surprised if there are members of that wider family present, also getting baptised.
Our services do not normally exceed two families for practical reasons: however it is possible that in exceptional services, there may be three different families present for a baptism service.
How to arrange a Baptism (Christening) for a child
In this section, you can find out how to book a Baptism (also called a Christening) for a child at St. Paul's Church, Hathershaw, Oldham.
For an adult, the arrangements are somewhat different. Please get in touch.
Can my child or I be baptised at St. Paul's?
We would normally expect you either:
- to live in the parish - click here to see a map of the parish OR
- to have a connection with the parish - a parent or grandparent, brother or sister, attended church or was baptised or confirmed or married at St. Paul's.
Making a Booking
We encourage families to come to the Church Service on a Sunday morning at 10:00 am, to learn more about the faith into which the child is to be baptised. There are forms available after church. You can collect a form afterwards, or leave one. There is a service every Sunday morning, often with Sunday School. There is no need to ring in advance, just turn up on a Sunday morning and ask for a form. Alternatively you can download the form to book a baptism here.
Once you have filled the form in, bring it back to church on a Sunday morning.
On the baptism form feel free to put down a couple of preferred dates from the list of available dates in the next section. When you have submitted the form, we will confirm a date with you.
Please note that many enquirers leave incorrect or inaudible contact details on the Vicarage answerphone, and we have not been able to get back in touch. This is frustrating for all concerned. The best way of making a booking is simply to follow the instructions above.
We would expect you to come to a rehearsal on the Thursday before the Baptism at 6:00pm or another time. This is to prepare for the service so that everyone can be relaxed and enjoy the day - and to find out more about what baptism means. We do not expect everyone to be there, but if enough people know what they are doing, then that will help the service to run much more smoothly.
We know that many of you will also want to book a venue for the party after the Baptism. However, please do not book the venue before discussing dates with the church. While we will try to be flexible, there are certain Sundays where we cannot conduct a Baptism service. Usually you cannot normally book a baptism for a service during Lent or Advent, or in August.
Printed below is the baptism calendar. If you wish it may well be possible to have a baptism at 10:00 am on these dates, as a part of the main Sunday Service.
You have two options here at St. Paul's Church.
- The service can take place at 10:00 am - as part of the Church's main act of worship, with members of the congregation present. As part of a service of Holy Communion, this will usually take just over an hour.
- The service can take place at 11:45 am - with your family and friends representing the whole body of the church. This service will take 45 minutes. It will also include a couple of well-known hymns, and some prayers.
We invite the parent(s) and godparents of those being baptised to a rehearsal. This usually lasts for 30 minutes and will take place on a Thursday evening leading up to the baptism service at 6pm. We understand that not everyone will be able to attend due to work commitments or distance. But you will enjoy the service more if you know beforehand what you will be asked to do or say. And if you have a better understanding of what is going on during the service.
You should choose your godparents wisely! The church sees the role of godparents as about helping the child to grow up in the Christian faith. So it is important to choose people that live out the Christian faith.
All godparents should themselves be baptised.
Of course many parents often see the godparent as someone to look after the child in practical ways as well - and especially in case of their injury or death. However this is not the church's understanding: the role of the godparent is to support the child in growing up as a Christian.
Two or more godparents must be the same sex as the child. One or more godparents must be the opposite sex of the child.
If for some reason one of them cannot make it to the service, then you can invite someone to stand in for them!
What happens next?
The church understands baptism as the first step in a journey of faith - a journey that we all make throughout our lives from God, and to God.
So it is important to think carefully about what happens after baptism.
Not everyone who comes to St. Paul's church comes every week. Many people do (or try to!). Some come every month (especially some children from the Uniformed Groups, who attend our all-age monthly "Parade" service). And some come twice a year (especially at Christmas and Easter).
If you want to learn more about being a Christian, but don't want to jump in at the deep end, you are welcome to come along to church. In particular our services on the first Sunday of the month are especially designed to be suitable for children as well as adults, and easy to follow.
Well, at least, they will appear here in a little while, but this part is under construction at the moment.
Church of England Secondary Schools
There are two Church of England Secondary Schools in the Oldham area:
- Blue Coat School (Faith Vision Nurture), and
- Crompton House School (Loving God; Achieving Excellence; Caring for Each Other).
There are, of course, many excellent Secondary Schools that are not connected to the Church of England. Many families at St. Paul's choose for their children to attend Roman Catholic Schools, or non-religious schools. However, many church parents and guardians value the spiritual and religious ethos of the Church of England Secondary Schools - and apply for places at these schools on behalf of their children.
Myths circulate in the community that for your child to get a place at a Church of England Secondary School either (a) you need to be rich; or (b) your child needs to be intelligent. Neither of these are true. As a Parish, we are keen to help people find accurate information, so that everyone has a chance to apply, not just those who are well-connected, or have worked out the system!
These secondary schools offer many places each year to members of the Church of England, among other groups. Membership of the Church of England is measured by how often the child and parent or legal guardian attend Church Services (or Sunday School).