The Parish of Holy Trinity and St Peter’s, Ilfracombe


Baptism or Christening?

The simple answer is that they are two words describing the same thing!

What they mean is the act of making a commitment to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and to enter into a new relationship with God and His family, the Church.

Traditionally people were baptised as infants and the commitment and promises were made on behalf of the child by their Godparents. Today, people come still bring babies for baptism but, increasingly, people now come at any age, often after having realised a need to recognise God’s importance in their life.

Baptism is a sacrament of the Church in which we use the symbols of water, oil and light to recognise a new beginning.

If adults come for Baptism is is usual to combine this with Confirmation – that is the stage of taking on the promises of Baptism for ones self – and this combined service is done by the Bishop.

I f you are interested in having your baby baptised, congratulations on the new addition to your family. If you are interested in being baptised yourself do not be concerned or embarrassed, a growing number of people are now baptised as adults.


Baptism is an important step on anyone’s journey of faith, whether as a baby, a child or an adult. In baptism we welcome new members into God’s family and into the life of the Church. Children are baptised on the understanding that their parents and Godparents will help them to grow in faith and encourage them to explore that faith for themselves as they grow older.

Importantly, Baptism is about becoming part of God’s family, the Church, and you are encouraged to become part of the church family here by taking part in some of our services and activities.

Adults are baptised on the understanding that they wish to commit their lives to God and play an active part in the life of the Church through prayer and worship. When someone is baptised they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, a sign of God’s love with them at all times.


We encourage people to have their baptism during one of our Sunday services, when the family of God is gathered together and can welcome the newly baptised.

This is not daunting! The service is clearly set out and you can’t do anything wrong, especially if you’ve had the experience of joining us for a service beforehand.
In preparation for the service, you will meet with Father John and, possibly, a member of the congregation, who will take you through every detail.


Asking someone to become a Godparent can be an important way of acknowledging the significance of that person in the life of a family; it’s an honour and privilege to be asked!

The role of a Godparent is to pray for their godchild, to encourage them to find out more about their faith and to lead them by the example of living a good life. Godparents have to be Baptised themselves. Since Baptism is recognised by all major Christian Churches, it doesn’t matter if you have been baptised in another church tradition.

It is not the practice of this parish to baptise adults in order for them to become godparents.


There is no charge for Baptism. However, we hope that you will wish to make a donation to support the work of the Church of which you are a part and there will usually be a collection at the service.