Congratulations if you have had a recent addition to your family, but don’t worry if your child is older. We hope that you and your family will find a warm welcome at our churches.
Give thanks When we’re given a gift, it’s right to say ‘thank you.’ The Bible says, ‘children are a gift from the Lord’ and so we should thank him for them. Traditionally, parents brought their children to church to give God thanks in a special service. In recent years, many parents have assumed that a Christening is the only way that their child can be welcomed into the church. However, at our churches, we like to encourage all parents to bring their child for a thanksgiving service, even if they would like to go on to have them baptised at a later date.
We’re always happy to welcome families who wish to have a Thanksgiving service, even if you haven’t, so far, been a regular attender at any of our churches—when you come, both you and your children will be made very welcome. We have facilities for children of all ages and we are very used to having children in our services.
A Thanksgiving service is always part of our main morning service and it follows a set pattern outlined by the Church of England—you can see an example of the service on the back of this brochure. In many ways it is very similar to an infant Baptism service; the baby is brought to the front of church, family and friends gather around, and the child’s name is often included in the blessing. However, there is no water and parents are not asked to make promises that many find difficult or even impossible to make or keep.
Baptism promises Most parents come to us asking ‘can I have my child christened?’ In the service, which some people call christening and others baptism, parents and godparents make important promises before God. These include a commitment to regular church-going as an example to your child, and a declaration that you are a committed follower of Jesus Christ yourself. For this reason, you may decide that the Thanksgiving Service by itself is right for you. If however, you want to explore the possibility of baptism for your child, we will gladly help you to do this – please have a word with one of the ministers after one of our Sunday services. We will then arrange to discuss with you in more detail what baptism means and offer to come and talk to parents at greater length at your convenience.