Thanksgiving or Baptism its up to you.
They had come for a “Christening”, and been puzzled. It was a wonderful celebration for family and friends, and the parents had been overjoyed as they answered the questions the vicar put to them. “Do you receive this child as a gift from God?” and “Do you wish to give thanks to God and seek his blessing?” And it had seemed so special when after some lovely prayers, some special friends had said they would do all that they can to help and support in bringing up Michael.
So what was all this? Was it Baptism? No, it was what the Church of England calls the “Service of Thanksgiving for the Birth of a Child” – a well kept secret we now make public !
This is not a second class baptism, but a first class opportunity to seek God’s help in the difficult privilege of bringing up a child: And it’s not just a service for those who don’t often come to church. At a recent local baptism service several teenage children thanked their parents (who were committed Christians) for simply having this Thanksgiving Service so they could be baptised having made up their own minds to follow Jesus. Neither service affects the child’s spiritual status – God loves all children the same.
Baptism is a sacrament of the church. That means it is something that has an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual meaning. In Baptism the sign is water. Water signifies cleansing from sin. It was the first thing to be created and is vital to life on earth. The C of E teaches that two things are necessary for salvation; Baptism and Confirmation. Confirmation is administered by a Bishop when a person is old enough to confess the faith for themselves. An adult may be baptised and confirmed at the same time.
In Baptism parents and Godparents promise to teach a child to pray; to read the Bible and to come to church regularly. Godparents must be baptised and should be confirmed in the Church of England or members in good standing with a church that holds the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.
There are good reasons why you and your children should be baptised; You will become part of a worshipping community. Together, with many other people you will learn the way and the teachings of Jesus Christ. This is the way Christians believe God wants us to live. No one expects you to know everything. We are all learning together.
There are also not-so-good reasons for having a child baptised: it’s a family tradition; it’s a way of celebrating together; it will get them into the right sort of school. There are many other reasons besides these. Talk it over among yourselves and with Grenville if you want too. He will be pleased to help you come to the right decision for you. As he often says, “You can’t make people believe; it’s between them and God.” Please also remember that it is NOT an adoption service in the event of a parents untimely death.
So you make the choice; what do you want for you and your family?
So what do we need to do?
Phone Grenville or come to church and talk to him after a service.
Remember you will need Godparents who are baptised and confirmed in the Church of England. If you can’t manage that talk it over with Grenville. He’s here to help!
Grenville will give you two sets of paperwork one for each service: Baptism and Thanksgiving. You can choose.