Baptism and Confirmation in our Parish

The Anglican Parish of Ararat  welcomes enquiries about baptism and confirmation.

Many people grow up in the Church because they have been baptised as babies and brought up in a Christian family. That is not always the case. Increasing numbers of older people - from teenagers to great grandparents - are making their own decision to join the Church.

For some people this comes as a sudden conversion. For others, a curiosity about God or about the person of Jesus grows into a gradual awareness of his presence and an increasing conviction that he demands some sort of personal commitment. They feel the need to express that commitment by joining a worshipping community of the Church.

Some people follow a slightly different path. They get involved with their friends or their children in the social activities of their local church without having much interest in what the Church is really for. They enjoy the friendship of Christian people and get interested in the Church for its own sake. Gradually, they, too, want to belong.

If you find yourself in this position, what should you do?

The First Steps

Talk to your Christian friends or to Christians you know and trust. Go to church - with a friend if possible - and choose the main Sunday service. In our Parish the congregation gathers for a cup of tea or coffee afterwards and newcomers are welcomed. This is a chance to meet other members of the congregation and to introduce yourself informally to the clergy.

Were you Baptised?

Many people were baptised (christened) as a baby but have had little contact with the Church since. Baptism is, nevertheless, permanent and cannot be cancelled or repeated. So, if you were baptised as a baby, in whatever church that took place, you are still baptised and you cannot be baptised again.

Some people do not know whether they have been baptised or not. It is important to find out from parents or older relatives and to discover where it took place, because you may need to obtain a baptismal certificate. Talk to the Parish Priest for more information.

From another denomination?

If you are a Christian from another denomination and feel drawn towards joining the Anglican Church, the way this is done will depend partly on your present denomination. If you have been baptised, and confirmed by a bishop, in another denomination then, after a period of preparation, you will be received into the Anglican Church, probably by a bishop during a confirmation service. If you have not been confirmed, or even baptised, then you will be prepared for this along with other candidates. Talk to the Parish Priest for more information.

Christian Initiation

If you have not been baptised, that is the place to start.

In the early days of the Church, new Christians were often baptised at Easter. After a course of instruction in the faith, they publicly entered into a new life. They repented of their sins, were assured of God's forgiveness and were baptised, often in a river. This was a symbol that they had died to their old life and, born again, been given a share in the Holy Spirit who came on Jesus at his baptism and, after his resurrection, was given to his disciples.

Generally, in the early Christian centuries, those who joined the Church were not only baptised with water: the bishop also laid his hands on them in blessing, a rite which later developed into what we know as confirmation. Admission to the Church was completed by their receiving Holy Communion for the first time.

Baptism, confirmation and first communion still form the pattern today. Talk to the Parish Priest for more information.

Adult Baptism

If you begin to feel you want to be received into the Church, discuss it with the Parish Priest. He will probably suggest that you be prepared for baptism and confirmation at the same time and that you join a confirmation class.

You will normally be confirmed at the same service in which you are baptised. Baptism takes place at the font, where water will be poured over your head. You will be asked to make the promises of baptism, repenting of your sins and turning to Christ. You must declare before God that you accept the Christian faith. The Bishop who baptises you will call you by your name and then use the words based on Holy Scripture: 'I baptise you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.'

The baptism of adults is normally followed immediately by confirmation and first communion.

Confirmation

People who have been baptised may be confirmed provided they are old enough to renew for themselves the promises made for them at their baptism by their parents and godparents. It is usual for people only to be admitted to Holy Communion once they have made that affirmation of faith and received Confirmation.

Confirmation usually takes place at a Parish Mass at which the Bishop presides. The service continues with a celebration of the Holy Eucharist, where the newly-confirmed join in receiving the sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ. Talk to the Parish Priest for more information.

The Catholic Church

It is in baptism that God receives you into Christ's Body, which makes you a member of the catholic Church. So the new Christian has joined something much bigger than the local congregation that has just welcomed him or her: and bigger than the Anglican Church. He or she is now a member of the universal or Catholic Church, which stretches through history, across the world and into eternity.

Getting Married in our Parish

Our Parish churches welcome enquiries about the celebration of marriage.

Booking a Wedding

The first step is to make contact with the Parish Priest (Rectory 5352 1109 ) to see if a particular date and time can be pencilled in as a preliminary booking.

The second step is to make a time to meet with one of the Parish Priest, usually 6 to 12 months before the proposed wedding to confirm arrangements and to start preparing for the wedding service.

Interviews

There are at least three or four interviews with the officiating clergy:

Church Attendance

In choosing a beautiful church for a service of marriage, couples are encouraged to enjoy its atmosphere in advance of the wedding by attending the 9.30 am Sunday Service. The church is a community of people. We look forward to getting to know you and to support you as you venture into married life.

If you have not been baptised and/or confirmed and would like to be, or if you would like to find out more about membership of the church, do let us know.

Remarriage of Divorced Persons

When someone's previous marriage has broken down, marriage in the Anglican Church is only possible after pastoral discussion with the officiating clergy, who must obtain permission from the Bishop in order to conduct the marriage.

Documents Required

1. Notice of Intended Marriage (Blue Form)

This form needs to be completed by the couple and the Parish Priest no more than twelve months and no less than one month prior to the intended date of the marriage. The form requires the full names of your parents (including your mother's maiden name) and their countries of birth. (The Parish Priest has copies of this form)

2. Baptism and/or Confirmation

Evidence of the baptism and/or confirmation of at least one party should be provided.

3. Birth Certificates.

The officiating clergy must see your original Birth Certificate or Extract of Birth, or if not available your Passport or a Statutory Declaration regarding your birth details.

4. Consent for Minors

A special form must be completed for anyone under the age of 18 years. This is only possible on the intervention of a Magistrate.

5. Evidence of the Termination of a Previous Marriage.

If a person has been divorced or widowed, the officiating clergy must see the Decree Absolute or the Death Certificate.