Whiston Parish Church
St Mary Magdalene, Whiston; Rotherham


In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, "Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased."

Gospel of Mark ch.1 v9-11

In baptism, we thank God for his gift of life and publicly acknowledge his love. In the Anglican Church it is common to baptize young children - this is sometimes known as christening - but you can be baptized at any age, young or old. What is very special is that you can only be baptized once in your life.

Baptism is a 'sacrament' (a holy ritual to symbolize grace) in the Christian tradition, that is traced back to Jesus himself being baptized in the river Jordan by John the Baptist. In the passage above it describes Jesus' baptism; thus when a child or an adult is baptized in the Parish Church of Whiston we are recreating that moment. For us the font becomes the River Jordan symbolically. The dove in the passage represents God's Holy Spirit and, in the moments of baptism we are praying that; just like the Spirit descended upon Jesus; that it will also come into the life of the one who is being baptized.

Every child who is to be baptized has to have Godparents who are over 16 years of age and who themselves have already been baptized. That is because the Godparent makes certain promises during the service on behalf of the child. Every child to be baptized has to have no fewer than three Godparents, of whom two must be of the same sex as the child and of whom one must be of the opposite sex.

If an adult is to be baptized then they need to have at least two adult sponsors to support them.

Some frequently asked questions about Godparents:

Q. What does being a Godparent involve?

A. As a Godparent, you have a special role. It's about helping a child to come to know God, encouraging them in their spiritual life and supporting them in their membership of the local church. You will be expected to attend the child's baptism, where you will make promises to help to bring them up in the Christian faith. It's a role that will develop over time; as your godchild grows up and develops their own faith.

Q. Is there a website that can tell me more about being a Godparent?

A. Yes, the Church of England has a very good website which contains further information about being a Godparent. It can be found by clicking here; or by going to the 'Links' section of this site.