For parents few joys compare to the amazement, wonder and love felt towards a newly born or adopted baby and growing child. We’d be so pleased to share in that joy with parents in those earliest days, months and years of a child’s life.
The Journey Begins… COME and GIVE THANKS
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. We warmly invite you to come for a special celebration of your new child at our regular ‘Thanksgiving’ ceremony which includes naming your child and the presentation of a gospel. We hold this beautiful service each month in St.Mary’s Church, it is called a ‘Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child’ and it takes place in the Chapel during our ‘Church Alive’ service on 2nd Sunday of each month. We value this as a way of celebrating your newly born or adopted child with you as the nuclear family, simply as parents and, of course, any other children. You may want to bring a few other immediate guests, but this ceremony really is about you having spiritual space to give thanks to God and allowing us the privilege of praying with you for God’s blessing upon your child in those earlier days, weeks and months – so don’t worry about organising a big party for this one (in fact the Chapel is not very large); we’d rather you simply turn up sooner than later as your journey begins. Although you’d be welcome just to turn up we’d not want you to be disappointed were there a change in our routine for any reason, so please let the Parish Office know of your intent to join us and confirm a date with you for the Thanksgiving. There’s nothing to stop you coming to our ‘Church Alive’ service on any Sunday just to taste and see – it’s about the journey and sense of belonging for your child.
Go on… THROW A PARTY
We agree that the birth or adoption of your child is a time to throw a party for all your family and friends. We don’t want the simpler and more intimate start of the journey above to stop that party time. So, if you want that party to involve inviting your guests to church for a second celebration of your child then we’d be pleased to make special arrangements with you. Usually on a Sunday afternoon, this could be a follow on service from the simplicity of your first visit when again we pray for your child with thanksgiving and bless them in the name of The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. You could invite two or three friends to be Christian Sponsors for your child, before you make your way to your celebration cake and toasting your child. To consider… you’d even be welcome to make hospitality arrangements to stay in church afterwards for 30 minutes and have your cake, speeches and toast there (just so long as someone can tidy it all up afterwards for you!) before you may also go for more food and “wetting the baby’s head” elsewhere! We’re just pleased that we you’re inviting us to join in this amazing journey of your child’s belonging and roots in your family and in our community of faith with you.
Walking on in the journey…
For you and your child we hope that you’ll come back and visit us on Sundays – you’re so welcome to be part of the church family in Alverstoke. We seek to discover what it means to be alive to God in our lives and for our children – that we and they may grow in the confidence of God’s love for us. Our modern Sunday service geared towards all ages is called ‘Church Alive’ – keep coming! See our Church Alive page for details.
For you and your child during the week we hope that you may enjoy our ‘Baby & Toddlers’ Group, ‘Baby, Bible & Biscuit‘ group or ‘Messy Church‘ plus our family events. See the Families page for details.
As we walk on the journey together then we hope we may get to the point of thinking about Baptism.
Letting the faith journey continue… BAPTISM (sometimes called Christening)
Rather than the celebration of your baby or adopted child, Baptism is the sacrament of initiation into membership of the Church, the Body of Christ. This can be at any age as a child or adult. It is about your exploring the Christian faith and preparing for the Baptism of your child, or indeed your own baptism too. This service is not one of thanksgiving or a party for your child but rather one where you and your Godparents reverently affirm your Christian faith and commit to bringing your child up in the faith within the church community – that’s why, in law, Godparents must themselves be Baptised and ideally Confirmed. It’s certainly not the thing to ‘do’ for a child under the pressure of wider family expectations and church traditions – for infant baptism it is directly about the parents’ faith in God. In that context of faith and preparedness we are privileged to initiate candidates of all ages as baptised members of the church. This anticipates and, for children, is fully realised in their ‘Confirmation’ ceremony when they are grown up enough to understand. It is to that understanding and Confirmation celebration with the Bishop that parents and godparents commit themselves in nurturing your child. So, you can see that this is part of their faith journey with you and us together: Baptism expressing your faith commitment to bring them up as Christians to the point where they confirm it as their own faith at their Confirmation. And a faith journey… well, it never ends!
All families are very welcome to seek baptism in the parish but, because it is about your child’s faith and your making such choices for them so, practically speaking, for babies and small children we’d anticipate preparing for baptism with you following the start of your journey with us at the ‘Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child’ described above or joining us for Sunday worship on other occasions.