Christenings & Thanksgivings

Thanking God for your Children

We are so glad you have decided to ask for God’s blessing on your child.

A child is a wonderful gift from God and it’s right that we want to celebrate such a fantastic present.

The Church of England offers two services:

  • Thanksgiving and
  • Christening.

Both services celebrate the gift of your children, but with different commitments and promises made before God.

Thanksgiving is a celebration to mark the birth of a child. We give thanks to God for new life, and commit both you and your child(ren) to God, asking for his help and blessing in the years to come.

Christening – within this service, your child is baptised and it involves making promises before God and the congregation to be a wholehearted disciple of Jesus Christ – and to show evidence of that commitment through regular attendance and involvement in the life of the church.

Here at St Mary’s, we offer all families the Thanksgiving service as the first step in giving thanks for the gift of children.

The Thanksgiving Service takes place as soon as possible after meeting you, and is normally held either within one of our Sunday services, or at 12.45pm. The later service is ideally suited to families wishing to invite a large group of family and friends.

For parents wishing to explore the Christening service, we invite you to attend the next Baptism preparation course.

Baptism Preparation Course

Held regularly throughout the year on Sunday afternoons, this course consists of two sessions and explores:

  • What the Christian Faith is about
  • What it means to be a Christian today
  • How parents and godparents can ‘own’ and live out the promises they make in the Christening service
  • How you can share in and receive so much from the life of St Mary’s on a regular basis

In order to get the most benefit from this course, we ask that you arrange your own childcare for these sessions. If this is difficult, please do talk with us, so we explore ways in which we can enable you to attend.

Booking your place on the course that works best for you can be arranged at any Sunday service.

After the Course . . .

Christening services are usually held on the 2nd or 4th Sundays of the month at 12.45pm so as to accommodate all your family and friends!

We welcome families and encourage you to come along as often as possible to any of the wide range of events on offer.

Why not come and join our thriving, growing community, where we run weekly toddler groups; children’s programmes, a Sunday School and other family friendly events.

Questions that are often asked

How many families share a service?

Due to the number of requests we receive, you might share a service with another family.

What about Godparents?

The Thanksgiving service offers parents the opportunity of having sponsors.

If parents wish to have their child baptised, then yes, baptised children do need Godparents.

Godparents must be willing to make the promises asked of them and to have been baptised themselves. If they haven’t been baptised, please do chat with us so their baptism can also be arranged.

Parents can also be Godparents.

How many Sponsors/Godparents can we have?

The guidelines suggest three or more – we recommend no more than four, but the final decision rests with you.

We don’t live in the parish – can we have the service at St Mary’s Eaton Socon?

It is usual to have your child welcomed in the parish where you live or attend regularly so that your child can grow in that church family.

However, if there are particular reasons why you would like to have the service here, it is usually possible to arrange this with the agreement of your own local minister.

Do I need to keep coming to church?

If you decide to have a Thanksgiving service, this does not imply any ongoing commitment to come to church. We would, however, be delighted to welcome you – and you might be pleasantly surprised by what you find!

In contrast, the Christening service expects that parents and godparents will help their children to ‘take their place within the life and worship of the church’.

Does the service cost anything?

There is no charge for either service. However, as a Church we are self-funding, and rely on people’s generosity. We always encourage families to make a donation.

Your donation will help to support the Church in its ongoing ministry.

Who do I contact?

In the first instance, please contact:

timThe Vicar

Rev’d Timothy Robb

Tel: (01480) 212219

To contact Tim, please use the Contact Us Form