Church of England Baptism
A baptism - also called christening - in the Church of England is usually held in the parent's parish church or a church within the district in which the baby was born.
Most churches prefer the baby to be baptised during a regular Sunday service, often at the same time as other families. If the baptism is during morning service , it will usually be followed by a lunch. It is still possible to have a private christening in a church of your choice, although it may take some tact and perseverance. If you have a special relationship with a priest or vicar from a different parish, who is for instance a family friend, then you will need to clear the arrangements with the local priest or vicar. Private christenings are often in the afternoon and followed by a tea, but this will be dictated by the local church’s timetable.
Many priests will want to see the parents for a few preparation meetings beforehand, especially if they are not regular church-goers.
During the baptism service, the parents and godparents gather together with the baby and the priest, usually around the church's font, to make a series of religious declarations. They are required to declare, in unison, their belief in God, and that the child will be brought up following Jesus.
The priest marks the sign of the cross on the baby's forehead, and will say:
'Christ claims you for his own. Receive the sign of his cross. Do not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified.'
The priest then pours some water on the child's head, symbolising the washing away of all sin to begin a new life with God, saying 'X, I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.'
If the ceremony is taking place during a normal service, the congregation may join in at this point, and a candle is lit symbolising Jesus as the light of the world.
For more information please see the Church of England website