"And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name."

This policy follows the Canons of the Church of England and was agreed by St James’s PCC on 6th September 2021.


What is Baptism?

Baptism is a Christian sacrament of admission and adoption and celebrated by the Church. The Sacrament of Baptism is an act of worship and will take place during the regular worship service. It is a visible sign of God’s grace.

When children are baptised, parents make a commitment on their behalf. Inherent in infant or child’s baptism is the expectation that the children will confirm their faith when they’re old enough to decide for themselves.

Parents should have a sincere interest in the church and be committed to raising their child in the Christian faith by bringing them to worship, giving them opportunity to learn through Sunday School, and being an active part of the community of faith.


Child Baptism

  1. Any parent residing in the parish can request baptism or “christening” for their child at St James Church 

  2. Baptisms should take place during the 10.15am Parish Communion (Canon B21). This will happen on the first Sunday in the month, with a maximum of three families if families are presenting one child, or four children in total. Baptism at other times is only possible if candidates are part of a regularly worshipping family in the Church, in line with criteria b) or c) below. Baptism in a separate service is not possible for candidates who are not part of a regularly worshipping family at church.

  3. If parents live outside the parish, the baptism can go ahead if they fulfil one of the following criteria:
    a) They were married at St James Church, Briercliffe
    b) They worship regularly at St James for at least six months before the baptism
    c) Their own parents (i.e., the grandparents of the child to be baptised) are regular worshippers at St James Church.

  4. If the family lives outside the parish, but has some other connection with the parish they may be eligible, but this must be referred to the Vicar for a decision on whether permission would be granted.

  5.  A family asking for baptism who live outside the parish and have qualified under the criteria set down above must inform the Vicar of their own parish, and should only proceed with her or his goodwill (Canon B23.5).

  6.  If the family has been attending church for fewer than six months but have shown themselves to be sincere and committed members of the congregation then, again, a decision to baptise would be made at the Vicar’s discretion.

  7. Baptism preparation involves a meeting with the Vicar explaining the service and the commitment it entails, alongside contact with a lay member of the congregation. The Baptism cannot take place without this preparation.


  8. Godparents must be 16 years or over and themselves be baptised (Canon B.23.4).

  9. The name of a Godparent can still be entered in the Baptism register if for good reason they cannot attend the service.

  10. A Godparent can, if desired, be represented by a “proxy” at the service if they are unable to attend.

  11. If an unbaptised person is not willing to be baptised before the service at which they wish to be a Godparent, they cannot be a Godparent or be entered into the register as such.

    Adult Baptism

  12. Adult candidates for baptism should normally receive preparation arranged with the Vicar.

  13. All adult candidates for baptism should be reminded of the requirement to consider Confirmation as well as baptism (Canons B23 and B24).

  14.  Adult candidates should have a “sponsor” who replies as a parent or godparent in the baptism service. The term “sponsor” describes a supporting person for an adult candidate for baptism and confirmation and should not be used in conjunction with a child candidate.

  15. The same rules (8-11) that apply to Godparents apply to sponsors.