THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND íS BEST KEPT SECRET?
"I didnít even know something like that existed"
Not some special artefact, not some priceless jewel, but the response
of families emerging from a Church of England service - not a usual
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
So what was all this? Was it Baptism? No, it was what the Church of
England calls the "Service of Thanksgiving for the gift of a
child" - a well kept secret we now make public!
The birth of a child usually brings enormous feelings of wonder about
Creation. Many people for whom church attendance is rare, still want to
express their thanks to God even though they are unhappy about being
asked to make very solemn commitments like "I turn to Christ, I
repent of my sins" - and making similar promises on behalf of the
infant. But now the Church offers the Thanksgiving Service which enables
parents to thank God, but to leave the way open for the Michael to make
up his own mind about the Christian faith when he understood the issues.
This is not a second a second class baptism, but a first
class opportunity to seek Godís help in the difficult privilege of
bringing up a child. And itís not just a service for those who donít
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 childís spiritual status - God loves all children the same.
We want to make sure every new parent understands the options and we
have prepared a special leaflet which will help you decide what service
is right for you. This will be given to you before your preparation
You might feel as one parishioner did "Thatís just what I want
for my child"