The presence of children in our lives is a wonderful thing. For many parents, the sense of privilege and responsibility that we feel makes us want to express our thanks to God. St Mary’s Iffley is happy to help your family celebrate the arrival of young children!


baptismOPTION ONE: Thanksgiving

Three times a year, we have a WELCOME SERVICE. These services are a chance to say thank you to God for the gift of our children. These services happen at 12noon on Sunday lunchtimes, and a wonderful opportunity to bring families together to mark the place of little ones in their midst. There will be a story from the Bible, prayers for your family and your children, and each child is named and blessed. Altogether they last about twenty minutes.

  • These services work well for families who no longer live in the parish. We know that Iffley Church is an important place to lots of people in this area and so any family can ask for an invitation to these services. In this way, families can continue their connection with Iffley Church even if they no longer live in the parish itself.

  • These services work well for families who wish to have their baby baptised later on, or who are not sure if baptism is the right thing for their situation.

  • These services work well for families who are ‘blending’ children together as a new household comes together to make one new family, and for families who are welcoming children back into their care after they have been separated for any reason.

This service is not the same as Baptism (sometimes called Christening), which is the sacrament of initiation into membership of the Church, the Body of Christ. Baptism is best when your local vicar in the parish in which you live invites your family to a service in that parish church.

Usually, the WELCOME SERVICES happen in mid-January, late May and early September. You can request an invitation to a Welcome Service by contacting Andrew McKearney, the Vicar directly.


baptism 2OPTION TWO: Baptism

Baptism is an essential part of what we do at St Mary’s. Our font sits right inside the entrance to the church building, and has done since 1170. It is astonishing to think how many countless generations of families have come to mark the start of their children’s journey in faith at this very spot. One little boy on a school visit thought about this for a minute and then said, “It’s like being a time-traveller. It makes you connected, doesn’t it?”

Baptism marks the beginning of a journey with God which continues for the rest of our lives, the first step in response to God’s love. It is a joyful moment, and particularly for parents and godparents, it is also a solemn moment when we make serious promises about our faith and way of life. You can choose upto four godparents, who must be baptised and over the age of 16.

We regularly offer BAPTISM SERVICES as part of our church life. Families preparing for Baptism at Iffley Church need to be connected to the church family in some way. For example the family:

  • lives in the parish (see postcode finder)

  • is a committed part of the congregation at Iffley

  • has signed up to the church electoral roll of Iffley church

Occasionally, we offer baptism services for families who have other connections with the parish – but this is always at the Vicar’s discretion. Examples might include the children’s parents were married at Iffley church, if either parent was baptised there, or if an older sibling was baptised there.

As baptism is about participation and the local church, we would always encourage other families to come along to one of the WELCOME SERVICES and then to seek baptism in the parish church nearest to where they live.

Usually, the BAPTISM SERVICES happen at 12noon Sundays throughout the year.