Welcome to St Swithins Church

We are part of The Oldbury Benefice.
A group of 5 rural parish churches in North Wiltshire

Benefice Diary

For older services you will find a listing on the Youtube page for oldbury Benefice

Special Services

Special Services

Special Services at St Swithin's

If you are looking for baptism, wedding or funeral services at St Swithin's then Matt will be pleased to recieve your enquiry. In the first instance please contct the benefice office and the benefice administrator (Lorraine) will make sure you enquiry is handled in the appropriate manner.

Contact The Administrator
Christening

Christening

Christening your Child at St Swithin's

Baptisms at st swithins

So you would like have your child baptised? Or perhaps you yourself are seeking answers and think that maybe baptism is the first step towards finding them.

Here you will find information relating to baptism including the following:

Alternatively contact Rev'd Matthew Earwicker 01249 821329

What happens during the service?

Your child's baptism will normally take place during the main Sunday service (usually in the morning). This is so that your child can be seen to be joining the family of the Church and be welcomed into membership. In turn the Church will promise to support and pray for you and your child.

Matthew will make sure you know where to sit and when you need to move. Some parts of the service will be for the whole congregation to join in, some will be for you and the godparents.

Part of the baptism service will normally take place at the front of the church, but for the baptism itself, parents and godparents are usually asked by Matthew to gather around the font. (The font is a large basin on a pedestal, containing the water for baptism.)

Matthew will ask the parents and godparents to make declarations on behalf of the child

Making decisions and promises

When you bring your child for baptism, you will be asked to declare publicly on behalf of your child that you believe in God and that you will bring your child up to follow Jesus.

You will be asked to answer, on your child's behalf, that you have decided to turn away from everything which is evil or sinful and instead to turn towards Christ.

The declarations made by you and your child's godparents will be made in front of the church congregation; the local Christian community will promise to support you and pray for you and your child.

Symbols and actions used during the service

A number of important symbols and actions will be used during the service itself:

  • The sign of the cross - Matthew will make the sign of the cross on your child's forehead. This is like an invisible badge to show that Christians are united with Christ and must not be ashamed to stand up for their faith in him.

Matthew says:

Christ claims you for his own.

Receive the sign of his cross.

Do not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified.

Some churches may also invite you and the godparents to sign the cross on your child's forehead after the minister has done so.

  • Water - Matthew will pour water on your child's head. Water is a sign of washing and cleansing. In baptism it is a sign of being washed free from sin and beginning a new life with God.

Water is a sign of life, but also a symbol of death. When we are baptized, it is as though our old life is buried in the waters (like drowning) and we are raised to new life with Christ.

  • Anointing - after baptism in water, some ministers may put the christening robe on the child and anoint him or her with oil. This is a sign of the outpouring of God's Holy Spirit.

Matthew says:

May God, who has received you by baptism into his Church,

pour upon you the riches of his grace,

that within the company of Christ's pilgrim people

you may daily be renewed by his anointing Spirit,

and come to the inheritance of the saints in glory.

  • The welcome - the church congregation will say some formal words of welcome to acknowledge that your child has joined the Church and to show how pleased they are to have you among them.
  • Candles - Jesus is the Light of the World. A large candle may be lit in the church and you may also be given a lighted candle at the end of the service as a reminder of the light which has come into your child's life.

It is up to you, the child's godparents and the church community to help your child reject the world of darkness and follow a way of life that reflects goodness and light and shares this light with others.

The role of godparents

Godparents make the same promises on behalf of the child being baptised as parents. Godparents promise to pray and support the child and to help the parents to bring up the child in the Christian faith. It is an important and responsible role.

You should have at least three godparents: two of the same sex as the child and one of the opposite sex. Godparents can be family members or friends. However, it is important that you choose people who will take an interest in your child's spiritual welfare and who will pray for you and your child. Godparents must themselves be baptized, and should also be confirmed.

Read more about becoming a Godparent.

Thanksgiving Service

You may wish to ask Matthew about having a service of Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child. In this service, you thank God for the gift of your child and the child is blessed. You do not make the same promises as in the Baptism service.

If you choose to have a Thanksgiving, you may also have a Baptism service for your child at a later date.

Funeral

Funeral

A Funeral at St Swithin's

Baptisms at st swithins

A funeral is used to mark the end of a person's life here on earth. Family and friends come together to express grief, give thanks for the life lived and commend their soul into God's keeping. These can be a small, quiet ceremony or a large occasion in a packed church.

Everyone is entitled to either a burial service (funeral) or to have their ashes buried in their local parish churchyard by the minister regardless of whether they attended church or not.

This is an especially difficult time for those who are left behind and some may find it difficult to cope with the loss of someone close to them.

Some people find planning the funeral with family and friends helps in their grieving. Perhaps you already know something of what your loved one wanted. You may even have planned the service together some time ago.

If you are uncertain, Matthew or another minister if that is preferable, who will lead the service can help you choose suitable readings, hymns and prayers. If we did not know your loved one well, we will want to talk with you to build up a picture of the person's life, this may take only one meeting but sometimes it can be more.

Some deaths will be especially traumatic, distressing or unexpected. The Church has special funerals for children, or after sudden or violent deaths, including suicide. Talk with Matthew about what is possible.

Whatever the situation you find yourself in, the church will do what it can to help you through this process or will put you in touch with someone you may feel more comfortable with.

Please contact Rev'd Matthew Earwicker

01249 821329

Church Weddings

Church Weddings

Arranging Your Wedding in St Swithin's

Baptisms at st swithinsThe moment when a couple face each other and make promises about spending the rest of their lives together is a moving as well as a joyful event and it is our desire to make your special day just that - very special.

We can help you organise the service at St Swithins - please feel free to ask Matthew, or any of his team if you have any questions. We also want to help you understand the meaning of the promises you will be making.

The process of getting married begins from the moment you let us know that you would like to consider getting married in Church.

Firstly...

...Congratulations! You want to get married and you are thinking of having your service in St Swithins. First of all there are some questions we have to ask:

Are you qualified to get married in your local Church?

It is now possible for people to get married in a Church where they have (or have had) a reasonable family connection. To make it easier, the Church Council has drawn up a Policy which lays out the situation clearly. Click here to find out where you can get married

Have you been married before?

If you have been married before, it is often possible for you to have your wedding in the Church and you need to check with Matt if this is possible for you. However, if that is not possible, we would be delighted to have a service of Blessing for you and you can ask Matthew for details of this.

What date and time are you planning?

At St Swithins we will do our best to cater for whatever date and time you would like to book for your service, but it may not always be possible due to holidays and the availability of the people who are needed for your service. The best thing is to suggest a time and date as soon as possible and ask for it to be booked in the diary.

Getting Your Banns Read

Once you have booked St Swithins for the date and time of your service, we will ask you to fill out a Banns Form. Getting married is a legal occasion when the Minister who marries you will act as the Registrar. So it is vital (for all legal reasons) that we have all of your details down correctly from the start. If one of you lives in another parish, then you will have to arrange to see the Vicar of that parish so that you can fill in a Banns Form in that parish too.

The Banns are an announcement in the Church that you are intending to get married and lets everyone know - as well as being a legal requirement to check you are telling the truth.☺ The Banns are usually read in one of the morning services of the parishes concerned and you do not need to go to hear them being read – but it is quite nice to do so.

You will need to check when the Banns are being read in the other parish and bring a Certificate from the Vicar of that Parish to prove they have been read. It may sound a bit complicated, but it does become clear.

How Much?

Getting married in church is not cheap, but it involves a lot of different things, including the administration costs of the wedding, the Minister, the Organist and Choir, the Verger, as well as a contribution towards the running of the building and a lot more. Some aspects of the cost are "optional", such as having the bells rung or flowers arranged for you - but we will be able to give you a full breakdown of the cost of your wedding and when it all needs to be paid.

Getting Ready

Once everything has been booked, we will arrange for you to come to see Matthew, or another minister if you have a preference, who will be officiating at your wedding and some other times when we can help you understand the nature of marriage and the promises you will be making at your wedding. There will also be a Wedding Rehearsal, usually a couple of days before the wedding, when we go through the service so that you will be confident of what to say and where to stand on the big day.

Planning the Service

You will need to start planning the details of your wedding service. There are lots of resources for your wedding service on the Internet. Try this site: www.yourchurchwedding.org

Our prayer is that God will bless you in your new life together and will equip you to have the most abundant relationship possible!