Celebrating the arrival of your child
You’re probably visiting this page because your family has recently grown, and you’re looking for a way to celebrate the arrival of your new addition. The great news is that we would love to help you in that, and we are happy to hold special Thanksgiving Services to celebrate and welcome your child.
The birth or adoption of a child is a cause for celebration. Many people are overcome by a sense of awe at the creation of new life and want to express their thanks to God. This service provides an opportunity for parents and families to give thanks for the birth or adoption of a child and to pray for family life. It may be a private celebration at home or in hospital, or it may be a public celebration in church, sometimes with a number of children.
What does it involve?
The Thanksgiving Service is focussed on celebrating children, especially when they are born or adopted into a family. The service has some key elements:
- Publicly naming your child
- Thanking God for the gift that your child is to you, your family and friends
- Nominating special “supporting friends” who you recognise will have an important role to play in the raising of your child
- Anointing your child with Holy Oil as a symbol of God’s presence with them
- Praying God’s blessing over them
- The giving of a Bible to your child to help them know about Jesus’ love for them
- Receiving a gift from the church as a way of marking this special day
Yes! In fact, we encourage families to think about how they could personalise a Thanksgiving Service for their child.
- You may want to think about a nice poem to be read out or a little speech by a family member, as well as asking family members to read the Bible readings.
- You may wish to have specific music played, or you may wish to sing a couple of your favourite hymns together.
- You may wish to write a prayer together as a family to be read out at the service, listing the hopes and dreams you have for your child.
- If the child has siblings, you may wish for them to say a few words or write something about what their new brother/sister means to them.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, and your vicar would love to talk through any ideas you may have in order to make the service special.
The service takes place at a date and time mutually convenient between you and your vicar. It doesn’t have to take place on a Sunday – we want to be as flexible as possible.
There is no charge to hold a Thanksgiving Service for your child. However, we do take a voluntary collection at the service, and any donations are very gratefully received. Donations we receive from these services help us invest in children and young people in our community and also help us to look after our church buildings.
Yes! We strongly encourage you to bring children of family members and friends along with you.
Your vicar will try to involve them in the service as much as possible, and will give a child-friendly talk during the service.
No. A baptism/christening service is a way of declaring faith in Jesus and becoming a member of his family, the Church. We baptise adults who find faith in Jesus Christ, and also children of believing families.
When baptising infants, parents normally choose Godparents whose main role is to encourage their Godchild to grow up to love and follow Jesus. They can only do this effectively if they know and love Jesus too, so the church expects them to be baptised Christians. They make promises to teach their godchild about Jesus and lead by their own example, so that there is a good possibility that the child will one day choose to follow Jesus for themselves.
Special promises are made at baptism – words of commitment to Jesus Christ and his church.
As this is such an important matter, we expect that families are an active part of their local church first. It is important that parents and godparents can make their declarations of faith and keep the promises asked of them with integrity if they wish to have their child baptised.
To find out more and enquire about baptism services, click here.
Thanksgiving Services do not require the parents (or anyone else for that matter) to make promises and a commitment of faith.
The only promise the parents make at a Thanksgiving Service is that they raise their child in the best way possible. As one of the prayers says:
God our creator, we thank you for the gift of our child entrusted to our care. May we be patient and understanding, ready to guide and to forgive, so that through our love, our child may come to know you. Amen.
Not at all. If, after a Thanksgiving Service, you decide to explore faith in Jesus and, in consultation with your vicar, come to a place in your heart where you can make a declaration of faith with integrity, then baptism is certainly possible for your child.