We rejoice in God's gift of children, and we offer a special, simple service of thanksgiving to any family that wants it. Unlike baptism, it does not require the parents to make any promises on their child's behalf, and it does not involve water. It is still, however, a chance to gather friends and family, ask for God's blessing and pray for your child, and if you would like to include it, a 'Naming' ceremony.
Sometimes parents choose a Thanksgiving service, rather than a Baptism for their child. Sometimes parents have a Thanksgiving service, and then choose to baptise their child at a later stage.
If you would like to make a commitment to bringing your child up in the Christian faith, the baptism (sometimes called 'Christening') service enables you as parents, with godparents to make promises on behalf of your child. As part of the baptism service, the church also formally welcomes your child into the Christian community.
Baptisms (including adult baptisms) usually take place as part of the All-Age Service on the first Sunday of the month. Those who wish to consider baptism for themselves or a child are encouraged to attend church regularly for at least 6 months, and will go through baptism preparation meetings at which the implications of the promises to be made will be discussed.
Confirmation is an opportunity for adults to re-affirm publicly the promises made at their baptism. The bishop taking the service meets with the candidates and their families as well as the church family, so we all celebrate the unity of our trust in the Lord Jesus together.
A bereavement is always a difficult time, and often a time when we feel the need of some spiritual support. Normally the undertakers will contact the member of the clergy in whose parish the deceased person formerly lived, but you may also want to contact the church directly yourself. Either way, we will discuss with you the content of the service you wish to use to give thanks for the life of your loved one.
Many people like to mark their intention for lifelong commitment to each other in the public ceremony of marriage, or a Service of Dedication after a civil marriage.
We are delighted to support them in this, offering marriage preparation classes beforehand, and the support of the church family afterwards, if they are able to remain in the area as a couple. Marriage preparation is an opportunity for the couple to take time out from the pressures of life to talk together about both practicalities and goals for their marriage, with input from videos and other materials to stimulate and guide their discussions. The ceremony is discussed with the Vicar, who will help ensure that all the legal details are covered, and take those involved through a rehearsal shortly before the wedding day.
Normally (as with a civil marriage) you will need to have booked the ceremony at the very least 4 weeks in advance, so that the Banns (legal announcement of the intention to marry) can be read, though of course it is wise to plan further ahead! People who live in this parish may ask to be married in St Thomas; those who live in other parishes who would like to be married here will need to speak to the Vicar here as well as to contact the Vicar in the parish in which they live, as Banns must also be read in that parish.