Baptisms at St. Boniface Cathedral
We, as a Christian community, are delighted that are interested in baptism in our church. This page provides some answers to questions you may have regarding being baptised yourself, or having your child baptised in St. Boniface Anglican Cathedral, Bunbury. Once you have read through this page you will find details of what to do next at the bottom of the page.
What is baptism?
Baptism is a simple ceremony of being immersed in water, practiced by Christians since the time of Jesus. It is a sign of turning to God, and of faith in Jesus Christ our Lord. At the same time, baptism symbolizes Jesus’ own death and resurrection. Those who ask for baptism recognize that their standing with God depends on what Jesus did for them by his dying and rising again. All who are baptized are received into the family of the Christian church.
What is necessary for an effective Baptism?
Baptism represents what God does for us—he gives us a new birth by his Holy Spirit. This is what we pray for when we are baptized. The one essential thing on the part of the person being baptized is sincere faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. In the case of an infant, this response of faith must be made in the name of the infant by sponsors (parents and godparents) until such time as the infant can make his or her own response. Therefore, infant Baptism is for the Children of Christian parents and for no other.
Who may be baptised?
The Anglican Parish of Bunbury has a policy of being as welcoming as possible and so anyone may be baptised. However, we do insist that the parents of the child or the adult-individual themself, having a genuine desire to turn to God and to enter into relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. For this reason we do not baptise simple because the parents want to enrol the child into Christian Private School or because the granny wants it done.
Who may be Godparents?
Godparents are members of the church who have themselves been baptized and have confirmed their faith. They may be either the parents themselves, or others close to the family who are interested in the child’s spiritual nurture. Being a Godparent is not a special reward for being a best mate; nor is it a position of honour bestowed to a sibling. Rather Godparents should be able to answer ‘Yes’ to the following two questions:
1. Are you yourself a follower of Jesus Christ and a member of his Church, sincerely believing the promises of God?
2. Are you willing to sponsor this person/child, answering for him/her now, and accepting responsibility for his/her Christian upbringing?
Traditional practice has been that a boy has two Godfathers and a Godmother, and a girl has two Godmothers and a Godfather. Parents may be Godparents for their own children provided there is a third Godparent. Extra Godparents are permitted because of relationship or other Christian affiliation. Although desirable, it is not necessary for the Godparents to be present, and so proxy Godparents are permitted.
What are the duties of Godparents?
Those who act as Godparents in baptism are accepting the responsibility, with parents, of providing encouragement, teaching and the help of a good example so that the children may be brought up to follow Christ and become faithful members of the church.
What is promised or undertaken in Baptism?
Three promises are made by all candidates for baptism, and these also are the undertakings made by Godparents when the candidate is a child:
1. A renunciation of ‘the world, the flesh, and the devil’, which means a rejection of all that is opposed to the will of God.
2. A belief in God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, which means trust in God as the one who made us; in Jesus as the one who saves us; and in the Holy Spirit who makes us like Jesus.
3. A firm intention to obey God and follow his leading in our lives.
When should baptism take place?
As baptism is the sacrament through which a person becomes part of the family of God, Baptism should, whenever possible, be at a public church service on a Sunday. This is because it is at a public church service on a Sunday when the family of God meet. Baptising at this time, means that the whole congregation may witness the admission of the newly-baptized into Christ’s Church, and welcome them. However, in exceptional circumstances, it may take place at other times. This should be discussed with the Dean of the Cathedral.
What else can parents and Godparents do?
Pray for your child and godchild. Baptism is not a naming ceremony. It can be a most meaningful occasion for establishing yourselves, your home and family in a right relationship with God. You may have been out of touch with the church; or you may wish to ask about baptism or confirmation for yourself. Do not hesitate to discuss any questions you may have with the Dean.
What happens if I am not prepared to make the promises?
If you are not certain that you are ready to bring your child for baptism, there is an alternative service the church offers to baptism called a service of ‘Thanksgiving for the Birth of a Child.’ This can be found in An Australian Prayer Book, which you may like to ask the Parish Priest about.
Is there a fee for baptism?
There is no fee at all. Baptism is 100% free. At the baptism the parents will receive the official baptism certificate. The Godparents will receive a formal godparent certificate. In addition, the baptism candidate will receive a baptismal candle. All are gifts from the church members to you. However, if the parents and godparents wish to make a donation, either through the normal offertory or in some other way, they are free to do so. But parents and godparents should feel no obligation in this respect.
What if I do not reside in Bunbury?
It is customary for members of a Parish to have their children baptized in their own Church which they attend, however due to some circumstances this is not always possible. Therefore, if you would like your child baptized at St. Boniface Cathedral in Bunbury but do not attend our Church, permission from your own Parish Priest must be obtained in writing.
What if the parents do not attend church at all?
This does not automatically exclude the possibility of a child being baptised, but you may like to re-examine why you are seeking baptism for your child. In the baptism service, parents and godparents will be promising before God, the church and your family that you will raise your child as a Christian by your own example. This example includes being an active member of the church. If you know that you have no intention of fulfilling that vow, perhaps you may like to consider the alternative service offered of a ‘Thanksgiving for the Birth of a Child’ mentioned above.
Can I choose my own time and date?
The Parish of Bunbury performs baptisms roughly every 5 weeks. These dates are preset in January of each year so as not to coincide with other special church services and festivals that occur throughout the church’s liturgical year. However, you may request a specific date to accommodate overseas visitors for example. In such special circumstances, the church will try its very best to fit in with your situation, but this cannot always be guaranteed. We will confirm the date of the baptism when we receive your signed documentation.
What to do next?
1. Having read the above and should you wish to proceed, please download the attachment called Baptism Application Form.
2. Then complete the application form. Please be advised that all Godparents must be baptised and must sign the application form.
3. Please return the form to the Parish Office at your earliest convenience for consideration.
Office Hours Tuesdays - Friday 9:30 am - 11:30 am
Phone: 08 9721 3970
PO Box 1892 BUNBURY WA 6231
4. On receipt of your forms you will be contacted to arrange a meeting with the clergy of the parish.
5. You will have to attend baptism preparation meetings. During these meetings, the order of service will be explained to you so that you will know what to do on the day.