We are delighted that you are thinking about this important sacrament of the Christian faith. We encourage you, but we also want you to understand the meaning of this service and the commitment you are making before you proceed.
What is Baptism?
Baptism is about entering the faith and family of Jesus Christ. It is about your decision to bring your child up within a Christian faith community, to ensure that your child will have the freedom, openness and encouragement of learning and exploring an engage Christian faith. If, alternatively, you want to celebrate and give thanks to God for the arrival of your child into the world we can certainly do that in another way with a service of Blessing and/or Naming.
Baptism is not only a commitment you are making. It is a commitment by the Faith Community at St Andrew’s to create an ongoing relationship with you and your family, to create a safe environment for your child(ren) and all children who are part of our community. In planning for, on the day and after your child’s Baptism your family will be introduced to an Elder from St Andrew’s. This person, alongside our Minister, will offer you pastoral support and friendship.
Things you might like to reflect on
your own Baptism and how it may have shaped and influenced your faith and life choices,
your own faith and how it is that you will nurture the faith of your child(ren),
your commit to teaching your child the way of Jesus as he/she grows, both through your own example and by being part of the life of the Christian Church.
Baptism of a child and membership
Baptism is about becoming a member of the Christian Church. For that reason, it will always happen in a worship service, not at another time or place. The only exception to this is when there is a serious health situation for the child or one of his/her parents. And in these circumstances contact should be made direct to our Minister, Rev Di Esbensen.
When a child is baptised in the Uniting Church, she/he is listed on the roll of baptised members. If your family are not members of the St Andrew’s Congregation this can be discussed with our Minister. Options include transferring your membership from another Uniting Church, becoming members at St Andrew’s, and other alternatives dependant on your situation.
In the baptism service, we ask the parents the following questions:
What do you ask of God’s Church for (name)?
We ask that he/she be baptised into the faith and family of Jesus Christ.
Will you provide for your child a Christian home of love and trust?
With God’s help we will.
Will you set before (name) the example of a Christian life, and will you pray that she/he will learn the way of Christ?
With God’s help we will.
Will you encourage your child to grow within the fellowship of the Church, and will you pray that he/she may come to faith in Christ?
With God’s help we will.
What baptism is not
Baptism is not just a social or family ceremony to celebrate the birth of a baby. Baptism is not the label a of a particular Denomination. (The baptism certificate is a joint certificate issued by eight major churches/denominations, and says that we all accept each other’s baptism rites.)
How do I arrange for my child’s baptism?
Please contact Belinda in our Church Office by phone 54413100 or by email email@example.com to arrange to speak with the Minister.
Please note in planning for the Baptism of your child(ren) you will need to be flexible regarding dates available, allow time for relationship building and the processes of the church to take place.
You will be asked to come to a Sunday worship service 9.30am, after which the Minister, or another church leader, will discuss the meaning and commitment of baptism with you.
If you understand and accept the meaning and obligations of baptism, your request will be taken to the Church Council for approval.
The Minister will then visit you in your home to explain the baptism service. You will also meet with an Elder who will have a role in the service.
Baptism as an adult or teenager
St Andrew’s Church will normally only agree to baptise adults or teenagers who regularly worship at St Andrew’s Church and have become active participants in the Church Community. There needs to be a commitment to embracing a Christian life of faith, spirituality, justice, love,mercy and inclusion.
People seeking baptism will be asked to attend a series of classes/conversations, which will explore and discuss the major beliefs and practices of the Christian faith, and the life of the Church. Such classes will be run as required.
Adult baptism includes confirmation (laying-on of hands with prayer invoking the Holy Spirit). The person affirms their faith in Christ, and commits themselves to a life lived in the teachings and community of the christian faith.
The vows taken in an adult baptism are:
Do you promise to follow Christ in your daily life?
With God’s help,I will seek to love and obey Christ, and grow in my relationship with God through prayer and study of the Bible.
Do you promise to be a faithful member of the Christian community?
With God’s help, I will share in the worship of the church and support its work with my time, talents and money.
Do you promise to participate in God’s mission to the world?
With God’s help, I will witness to Christ in word and deed, and look for the coming of the kingdom.
Baptism happens once. The Church cannot consider a second baptism for someone who has already been baptised. Instead it offers blessings, confirmation and other ways for the person to rejoice that they have been baptised, and to affirm the promises made for them, or by them, at their baptism.
Weddings – Celebrating your Marriage Service at St Andrew’s Bendigo …
We offer you our congratulations as you celebrate your commitment to shared relationship. Your wedding is one of the most significant occasions in your life and we look forward to discussing your hopes and plans with you.
This is a time when you gather with your family a friends to publicly celebrate the love you share, the commitment you have to share the future, and attend to the legal requirements for your marriage to be registered.
St Andrew’s Church Bendigo provides a beautiful setting and environment for weddings. The prayerful intimacy of this sanctuary, with its pipe organ and stained glass windows makes it a popular venue for many couples.
Celebrating your marriage in the Church means that both of you invite your parents, families, and friends to gather to witness your marriage vows (below) in the context of a service of Christian worship.
I (name), in the presence of God,
take you (name), to be my wife/husband,
to have and to hold,
from this day forward,
for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish,
as long as we both shall live.
This is my solemn vow.
Making Arrangements For A Wedding at St Andrew’s
To discuss having a marriage service at Wesley Church, please contact Belinda in our Church Office by phone 54413100 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org to check whether the date and time you want are available both with the Church and our Minister, and to obtain other contact information that you will need.
A Church Officer will them make contact with you to discuss arrangements, make a time for you to see through the Church and confirm the fee structure for Weddings at St Andrew’s Bendigo.
The Minister, Rev Di Esbensen, will then make an appointment for you both to meet with her. The date and time requested for the marriage service remain provisional until the Minister has met with you and you have paid a deposit of $250.
Meeting with the Minister
The Minister will probably want to meet with you four times, not counting the day of the marriage service itself.
First meeting: take down details, discuss options, address any initial questions, and sign the Notice of Intention if your documents are ready. When you sign the Federal Government’s ‘Notice of Intention’ between eighteen months and one month before the proposed day, the Minister will need to see:
a full Australian Birth Certificate (not an Extract) if you were born in Australia.
If you were born overseas and have become an Australian citizen, your birth certificate from that country.
If you were born overseas and are still a citizen of the country where you were born, your passport is sufficient evidence.
If you have been married before, a copy of the Decree of the Divorce or Dissolution of the Marriage; or the Death Certificate (as appropriate).
and your drivers license.
Second meeting will look at planning the marriage service.
Third meeting will focus more on your hopes for your marriage. St Andrew’s does not offer a full program of marriage guidance counselling. However, the Minister will want to discuss with you your sense of understanding of marriage and how this commitment may enrich and challenge you, how you plan to address any relationship and live challenges that arise, some of the dynamics of your family of origin, and other areas and issues that you may like to explore before your Wedding Day.
Fourth meeting. A rehearsal in the Church, involving all people with tasks if possible, in the last few days before the marriage service.
St Andrew’s has a long tradition of beautiful and inspiring music for its services. We have an outstanding Pipe Organ and our Organist, David Castles, is an accomplished musician and accompanist and is open to accommodating most music requests appropriate for a Pipe Organ.
The music chosen for a the marriage service should reflect both the joy of the occasion, its Christian meaning, and the venue in which it takes place. The Minister and the Organist will be happy to discuss your preferences for music and songs for your Wedding. We can make available a suggested list of suitable music, but are open to other suggestions that fit with the occasion and meaning of the marriage service.
When selecting music for your marriage service, please bear in mind copyright laws.
Funerals at St Andrews …
Experiencing the death of a loved one can be a very difficult and traumatic time and creating a funeral service is a very personal journey.
At St Andrew’s we seek to create a funeral service which provides dignified and respectful care of the person and their family, which serves as a special tribute to and celebration of their life, and which leaves people with honoured and significant memories in a time of grief and sadness. It also gives people the opportunity to say goodbye and offers continuity and hope for the living.
Our Minister, Rev. Di Esbensen will be able to help you to prepare a service which will honour your loved one and which will enable family members and friends to participate. Any special requests from your loved one can be discussed with her together with your choice of Bible readings, hymns/songs. The Funeral Service will also include prayers of thanksgiving, hope and committal, a sharing of memories, stories and images, a theological/faith reflection, a time of committal/final farewell and blessing.
St Andrew’s has a long tradition of beautiful and inspiring music for its services. We have an outstanding Pipe Organ and our Organist, David Castles, is an accomplished musician who can bring a depth of meaning and celebration to the experience of a funeral service..
In all, a Christian funeral service helps those who gather together in times of grief and loss to come to terms with the death of the person who has died. It seeks to do this in several ways:
It holds before us the stark reality of death. While often we try to forget our mortality, death reminds us that life is finite, and encourages us to live our lives well.
It helps us to remember and to honour the person who has died, and in telling stories of their life, we are helped to come to terms with the reality that their life has ended.
It holds before us the promises of God, the Christian belief in the resurrection, of life in Christ beyond this time and age. In a funeral service we commend the person who has died into the loving care of God.
We have a sound system and projection screen. Planning for this can be done with the Funeral Director or direct with the church.
You are welcome to organise your own floral arrangements, or artificial arrangements can be provided by the Church.
Fees relating to a Funeral at St Andrew’s will be discussed as appropriate. And most will be part of the arrangements made with the Funeral Director.
How do I arrange a funeral at St Andrew’s
This will most likely be attended to in the first instance by your Funeral Director. However, please feel free to contact Belinda in our Church Office by phone 54413100 or by email email@example.com
If you are struggling with the loss of someone who has been close to you or you would like to talk to someone about grief and loss you may like to make direct contact with our Minister, Rev Di Esbensen 54473803.