A declaration of love.
Baptism is a special ceremony of the Christian Church (known as a sacrament) which declares God’s love for the person being baptised (child or adult) and welcomes that person into the fellowship of the Christian Church throughout the world and across the denominations. Someone who has been baptised within the Uniting Church will have their baptism recognised as valid and sufficient within most other Christian churches throughout the world.
God’s love for us is freely given in Jesus Christ. It is not dependant on how “good” we may be, nor on what skills and abilities we may have. Whoever and whatever we are, God loves us anyway – unconditionally. Baptism celebrates that love and recognises that it embraces the individual being baptised.
Baptism is also a way in which we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the first century, baptism was almost always by complete immersion – the person being baptised went right under the water. First century Christians saw this as facing the possibility of death (by drowning) and thus sharing in the death of Christ. They saw their rising from the water as a sharing in the resurrection.
Although we in the twenty-first century may express these ideas in different terms, we still recognise that the Christian life means sharing in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Baptism, the sacrament of entry into the fellowship of the Christian community, is the most appropriate way of declaring this.
Sometimes, after discussion at the Baptism Information Session, parents decide that Baptism is not exactly what they want for their child. The Uniting Church can offer a couple of other possibilities. There is provision within the Church’s liturgy for a Service of Thanksgiving and this may suit your purposes better. Click or tap the link below to see the full wording of the Service of Thanksgiving.Thanksgiving Service
The other possibility is a Naming Ceremony. This is not an official service of the Church but sometimes is exactly what parents want to celebrate the arrival of the new child into their family. If this is something that appeals to you, speak to the minister about it at the Baptismal Information Session and appropriate arrangements can be made.
If, as an adult, you wish to be baptised, the Uniting Church regards that as exactly the same baptism as is given to children. However, because you are an adult, the vows and promises made by parents on behalf of their child are replaced by vows and promises that you will make for yourself.
The minister will want to spend some time with you before the baptism takes place, helping you to understand the significance of the step you are taking. This is comparable with the Baptism Information Session for the parents of applicants for child Baptism.
Often the Baptism of an adult is associated with that person becoming a Confirmed Member of the Church and, if that applies to you, you will need preparation for that event.
Click or tap on the link below to see the full wording of the Baptism Ceremony of the Uniting Church in Australia, specifically adapted for use in the Wesley Church on the Mall. When you bring your child for Baptism, a printed copy of this ceremony will be available so that you can read your responses from it. You do not need to learn these responses off by heart.
The Elders of the Congregation are very much involved in the administration of Baptism in the Uniting Church and a particular Elder will be allocated for your child’s baptism, ready to guide and assist wherever necessary. This will be determined by the Elders following your attendance at a Baptism Information Session – see details above.Baptism Ceremony
If your family has a “christening gown”, “baptismal shawl” or something similar, you are very welcome to use it. However, it is not necessary for your child to be clothed in “special” garments for the occasion.
Your family and friends are welcome to take photographs inside the church but please ask them not to take photos during prayers and to recognise the solemnity of the place and the occasion.
Free parking is available on Sundays in the Market Street car park (across Court Lane from the rear of the church).
Please complete this form below. When the form is complete, send it to the Church Office so that preliminary arrangements can be made for a particular date on which your child may be baptised. However, please note the requirement outlined above: parents MUST attend a Baptism Information Session before their application is considered.
Because God’s love is unconditional, we at Wollongong Wesley do not make any charge for a Baptism Ceremony. However, if you or any of your guests would like to make a donation towards the upkeep of the church or contribute to the Community Care program, which feeds and supports people within the Wollongong area, you (or they) may care to make a donation.
There is a metal box for this purpose just inside the glass doors into the church or, if you wish, your donation (in an envelope, please) may be handed to the minister or elder.
Are parents required to attend our Baptism Information Sessions to book for a Baptism Service for their child?
What is the Baptism Information Session for?
The information session is an opportunity for you to meet with our minister and elders to receive relevant information about the services of Baptism and Thanksgiving. It also allows you to ask questions, discuss a suitable date and submit your request for Baptism or Thanksgiving.
When are Information Sessions held?
These sessions are normally held on the Saturday (at 11:30 am) and the Monday (at 7:00 pm) prior to the second Wednesday of the month.
Can I make firm booking for a date prior to attending the information session?
No, you will need to express your preferences at the information session after hearing what is involved.
When will I know if my request has been approved?
Within 48 hours after the Elder’s meeting, which take place on the Wednesday after the Monday information session.
Is there any charge for the Baptism service?
There is no charge for Baptism. But we welcome donations to help cover our costs.
What should I consider when selecting Godparents?
Ideally, Godparents (also known as sponsors) should be over 18 and should be those individuals you would like to share in the parenting of your children. There is no minimum or maxim number required.
Can we bring our own candle for the Baptism?
Yes, however we do provide a standard candle to those not wishing to source their own unique candle.