Congratulations on the birth or adoption of your child!
Services of Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child.
- When a child is born many parents experience an overwhelmingsense of gratitude as well as joy and perhaps a sense of relief. Thereis no feeling quite life that of holding in your arms the babe that you have helped to create, and for a mother given birth to. It is equally true that there is no feeling quite like that of receiving thechild you have adopted and knowing that he or she is “yours” and you have been entrusted to love and care for them raising them to adulthood and independence.
- Christians believe that all life is a precious gift from God and in some way it is important that the gift is received. Services of thanksgiving for the gift of a child are designed to help us to “receive” that wonderful gift of life and offer our thanks to God who has given it, and to see God’s blessing and help as we seek to raise our children in love.
- A service of thanksgiving is offered to everybody who wishes to celebrate the birth or adoption of a child. It is a service in its own right which unlike baptism requires no commitment and no godparents although there may be people who are special friends who you would like to have a special relationship with your child. In the service we can help them to take that special place. A service of thanksgiving may also mark the beginning of a process of preparation leading to baptism. No preparation is necessary for a service of thanksgiving.
- Services of thanksgiving are short and simple and can be held at any time by arrangement with the Parish Office. We encourage these services to be seen as a time of great celebration and rejoicing there being no limit to the number of people you can bring. It is a service for the whole family and will always be held outside the main Sunday Service. There is no charge for a service of thanksgiving although if you wish to sing hymns a fee will be payable to the organist.
- Baptism is a very different thing. It’s known as a “Sacrament” . A sacrament is an “Outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace (Oxford English Dictionary) This means that it is something going on inside us which is seen through changes in our way of living. In the case of Baptism the outward and visible sign is that of water. Water cleanses us and gives us a new start.
- Baptism is a public statement that we have come to Christian faith and are intent upon living our lives differently within the family of the church
- It requires us to make statements of belief and commitment and for others to be able to see the evidence for this is in our lives.
A Bit of History
In the Bible we only read about adults being baptized. These were people who came to follow Jesus either because they met him or through the preaching and teaching of the early church. There is no sure indication that children are baptized anywhere in the New Testament.
Over time the early Christians had children and wanted their children to
share their new faith. The Christian Community (“the Church”) decided that children could be baptized on condition that their parents and godparents made a declaration of faith on behalf of the child, committed themselves to raising their child as a Christian living Christian values and attending the church gatherings. They promised that when their child became an adult they would present them to the Bishop to “Confirm” their faith for themselves. That decision was made in the fourth century and nothing has changed since then!
In just the same way today some parents Christian faith might be so strong and their church membership so active and important to them that that they want their children to share this too through being baptized themselves. That is perfectly possible but two things are necessary to make that happen.
- We all of us go through periods of doubting as well as times when our faith is alive and well. We need support in our faith and in our sharing of our faith with our children. This support comes from godparents. The choice of godparents is crucial. They need to be people who have a living and active Christian faith. Each godparent must be baptized, and at least one of them must also be a confirmed and active member of a Christian church. Where neither parent is baptized two godparents must be confirmed.
- The second thing is that parents and godparents must be prepared to make public declarations of faith and commitment and to live by those declarations, and to attend preparation classes as well as worship regularly and frequently.
- At a baptism service the church rejoices at welcoming a new member and invites parents, godparents and grandparents to join in that celebration which takes place with your new family, the local church surrounding you.
If you feel that the Baptism of your child, (or your own baptism) is the right step for you please ask at the Parish Office for details of our next Baptism Information Session.
Children are baptized on the understanding that they will attend church regularly with their parents who will ensure that when they reach an age when they are adults and able to speak for themselves (Often the time they leave school) they will come to stand before the Bishop to “Confirm” for themselves the faith in which they were baptized as children. The Bishop visits about once a year to “confirm” people. Parents who have not been confirmed are invited to join the next confirmation course to start, which is also open to parents who have not been baptized.
Neither a service of thanksgiving nor baptism is a naming ceremony. You name your child at the time you register their birth. Sometimes people decide that they wish to add a “Christian name” at the time of baptism. Where you decide to do this it should normally be a Saints Name and you will need to change the child’s name by deed poll for this to be a legal addition to their name. More information on this will be available at the baptism information session.
Parish Office: Mrs. Sue Franks
TEL: 0113 282 1416 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday 10 am to 12 noon
Thursday 10 am to 12 noon and 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm
1st Saturday of the month 10 am to 12 noon