These days faith is not the only factor in arranging a christening. It can be a great way for family members to come together in communion to celebrate a momentous occasion for your child. This can also help you to secure a good church school spot when your child is much older!
Depending on which church you go to, expectations of service/mass attendance may vary. Some churches may require you to be there on a regular basis whilst others may be less stringent – Christmas and Easter would be the only times they see you. Be sure to check with your local church as to how frequent you need to attend church on a mandatory basis.
Everyone is always more than welcome to attend church more often than expected. It would be a great way to foster relationships with not only your fellow churchgoers but also the vicar and members of the clergy.
Bringing your child into the church early also helps to foster a sense of homeliness with the church and therefore the child would be more used to going to church and attending service/mass later in life.
Blessing or Christening?
A christening is essentially a call for your child to believe in the Lord Jesus and repent his/her sins. Considering that your child is still a baby, it is pretty obvious that most parents and some members of clergy would question as to the baby’s understanding of the christening and all that it entails.
Hence, you can opt for a blessing for his/her sound arrival into this world, without any promises made on the baby’s behalf. Your child would be more suited to a christening when they’re older and better able to understand baptism.
If you’re uncertain of which path to take, talk to friends who have had a traditional christening or those who have just had a blessing. You could also consult with your local church as to your options.
Booking a christening
When you have set your mind on a christening, talk to the vicar of your local church. You will have to find out if this event is by itself or a part of the main Sunday service.
Depending on which church you go to, some may just ask for your preferred dates for the ceremony and your chosen godparents’ names whilst others may want extra details in regards to the baptism itself, your faith and that of the godparents.
In Christian tradition, generally godparents were selected because they had strong Christian faith and are able to guide the child to grow in his/her faith. Though this is the preferred option by most churches, these days, most godparents are selected from family members or close friends.
For your child’s sake, please consider taking the time to choose a proper godparent. If you are picking a friend, think about what sort of role they may play in your child’s life. Would you still be friends with them years later?
Will they offer you and your child the support and guidance needed when needed? Think about it: would your child be best suited for a relaxed or strict guardian? How much faith and knowledge of faith does your godparent of choice need to have?
Though you are the parent of the child, the godparent plays an important role in bringing up the your child in a spiritual sense. So, do choose wisely as to whom you would like to be your child’s godparent(s). Also, more importantly, does your child like them?
In a traditional sense, most girls would have two godmothers and a godfather whereas boys would have two godfathers and a godmother. Then again, this amount is completely up to you.
Getting the christening gown
The gown that is usually worn by both girls and boys is coloured cream or white. It would be a lovely touch if you had one that was a generational heirloom but if you don’t, you can shop at antique/vintage clothing outlets or buy a brand new one.
The service itself
If the service itself is held especially for you, please remind guests to arrive no more than 10 minutes before the starting time. The christening held in your child’s honour might not be the only thing that’s being held that day and the vicar would need to keep track.
All guests will gather around the front, with the godparents and parents in front. A service sheet with bolded text will be usually be handed out to godparents so that they may know as to what they need to say during the event. The christening would take no more than 20-30 minutes.
Even though it may be summer, some churches can be quite chilly so be sure your baby is wrapped up warm and do consider bringing a set of spare clothes to change into in case of an emergency.
After the service
Depending on how you would like it, you could hold a small tea reception with nibbles and tea after the service. If your guests are from quite a distance away, do consider getting something a bit more filling for them.
Plan in advance so that things can be cooked ahead of time and just reheated on the day itself. You can also consider a catering service if you have extra money to spend.
Do invite the vicar for the after service tea as a way of thanking him!
Don’t forget to visit our baby gift shop before the christening!