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Christening etiquette

(34 Posts)
treesntrees Thu 03-Oct-13 10:48:17

Am I being unreasonable to expect people attending a christening to behave as politely as they would like visitors to their home to behave. The church is the house of God and the second home of those who attend regularly. If the christening takes place during a normal service it is not appropriate to chatter among yourselves. Unless you are the child's parents or God parents it is not obligitary for you to attend the ceremony. You can meet up at the knees up venue afterwards. If you would like to attend the ceremony and don't know the procedure ask someone who does, or better still attend a service the week before so you have some idea how to behave. Finally please take your used tissues, crisp packets etc home with you. Someone has to clean the church afterwards and it is usually a small team of volunteers mostly in their sixties, seventies and eighties.

SerialStudent Thu 03-Oct-13 18:16:01

Had same situation at my great nephews christening. My Bruce's friends and kids treating it like a play centre ....... honestly I was shock and their rudeness

Onesleeptillwembley Thu 03-Oct-13 18:15:34

I don't believe in god, so absolutely do not think of it as 'The house of god", but I do respect that it is a place where you act appropriately. Out of respect for the celebrant, the participating person/people and their families, and also the other people that go there to do their thing. Also out of respect for yourself. You wouldn't act inappropriately at work, school, in the bank etc. YANBU treesntrees.

rallytog1 Thu 03-Oct-13 18:09:27

I think noisy children in church are great. They're a good reminder to older members of the congregation that church is for everyone. My 6mo DD loves to make loud announcements in the middle of prayers - I always feel that I should take her out but people tell me how lovely it is to hear her chattering and yelling. A lot of churches are well set up for kids, and even if they don't have a sunday school will offer bags of soft toys etc to keep little ones occupied. Sadly though, not all churches are like that.

Having said that though, I'm amazed by the lack of manners some adults show in church, usually at christenings. I've witnessed them answering mobile phones, chatting loudly during obviously contemplative bits and nipping across the aisle to have a chat with their mate during the sermon. I still believe the church should welcome people, no matter how they behave, but I honestly am dumbfounded sometimes at how some grown ups really have no idea how to behave in public. I don't think it's a matter of understanding how church works - it's a matter of having the manners to know that if someone is addressing a group of people that you're in, you don't start making a noise and doing your own thing.

Tavv Thu 03-Oct-13 17:44:06

> I think it may seem more like an entertainment or a show.

I agree that many people seem to want to sit back and be entertained these days. Church is meant to be a community, not a cinema.

nickelbabe Thu 03-Oct-13 16:56:43

you don't know how to behave in any unfamiliar surroundings,
1) ask someone else who is going
2) ask someone who might know
3) err on the side of caution and dress modestly (and please take a coat or cardi! churches can be freezing )
4) take food and drink with you if necessary, but don't crack the crisps open during the service (ie take quiet food!)

ErrolTheDragon Thu 03-Oct-13 16:36:04

>People don't automatically know how to behave in church.

No, but surely in any unfamiliar social setting you take your cues from the people around, surely?

FrozenFlowers Thu 03-Oct-13 16:26:15

I'm not surprised at 2 hours. I go to a High Anglican church and our normal Sunday Mass is 1.5 hours. We had a baptism on Sunday and I think it probably stretched the service to about 1hr 45 minutes, maybe 1hr 50 minutes? Some things were cut or truncated to make room for the baptismal liturgy, but there's a lot to fit in at the best of times!

2tiredtocare Thu 03-Oct-13 14:13:10

My 2 hour christening took place in a Anglican Church, it was a normal length service including sermon and psalms with the christening in the middle. It's quite a high church, in no way new age!

FrauMoose Thu 03-Oct-13 12:45:48

I think it may seem more like an entertainment or a show. And cinemas positively encourage people to graze while they watch.

Am tempted to suggest a sign saying, 'No crisps. Communion wafers only.'

WilsonFrickett Thu 03-Oct-13 12:41:55

I do agree and see how it can be frustrating to have the service spoiled (and crisps? Really?) but we live in a secular society now. People don't automatically know how to behave in church. Because they don't go to church.

treesntrees Thu 03-Oct-13 12:33:26

Badbride not yet but we did have one guy who thought he was meant to take something from the collection plate and asked how much he should take. Honestly.

treesntrees Thu 03-Oct-13 12:23:34

Littleomar I have never attended a christening that takes two hours but have heard that services in some (new age?) churches do last a long time. I know some churches are unwelcoming but honestly ours isn't. The priest states at the beginning that he understands that children will become restless but hopes the adults will keep quiet during the service. Like many churches we provide crayons and pictures to colour in and there is also a box of soft toys to play with. Christenings used to be held separately but the modern thinking is that a new child is being welcomed into the church family so the christening is held during the normal service so that the church members can welcome the child. The service in our (High) church lasts 45 minutes. The behaviour of the children isn't the problem as usually they are quite well behaved as they are interested in what is going on and also the unusual (to them) building, no it is the rude behaviour of the adults who should know better.
Yes I am one of the cleaners but I really love a christening despite my complaints.

Tavv Thu 03-Oct-13 12:21:53

Children have only just been mentioned on the thread though, it started off as the behaviour of adult visitors to christenings.

Sure, Jesus "liked a party" now and again, but he was also thoughtful, reflective and considerate, so not just a party-goer. There's a culture in some churches that assumes all "young people" will enjoy a certain type of music and noisy worship etc. when this isn't necessarily the case.

I agree children should be made welcome and to feel comfortable in church, and this has been the case in most of the churches I've attended, whether Anglican or various other denominations. I've seen colouring tables, bags of toys and books that can be taken into the pews, chidlren wandering freely around the church to see what interests them, percussion instruments for them to join in the songs etc.

However providing children's activities does take someone to set them up and many churches already struggle to find enough volunteers to cover everything that needs doing.

Mandy21 Thu 03-Oct-13 12:20:23

I'm a regular church goer and I agree wholeheartedly that Jesus would welcome anyone and everyone and would absolutely love children to become part of the church. We have a corner in the Church that has books, puzzles, toys etc, and a big rug and children can play etc. There is a line however - its a service, an act of worship, so if your child is particularly noisy or upset for more than a couple of minutes, you have respect for the other members of the congregation and take them out. Similarly eating crisps?!! There is a difference between expecting a welcome at Church (which is right in my view) and ignoring that you're in a Church (wrong!). But have to say – 2 hours for a christening?!!

jackstini Thu 03-Oct-13 12:19:59

Have people lost all common sense? Is this not obvious??

Yes, churches should be accommodating - ours offers to have Christenings as part of the (1 hour long) family service or as a separate (20 mins ish) service - whatever suits the family best

People should dress in what they feel comfortable in, but not with cleavages down to their navel, skirts up to their bum cheeks or men in vests

It is rude to chatter during anyone else speaking as part of a service - quite disrespectful to the family whose Christening (or wedding, or funeral or concert....) it is

It is rude to east noisily for same reasons above

It is wrong to leave litter anywhere - churches have bins, people have bags

meditrina Thu 03-Oct-13 12:18:52

YANBU. Irrespective of your personal beliefs, if you agree to attend a religious ceremony, you need to conduct yourself in a way which does not impinge on those who are worshipping. That's just basic consideration (if you strongly disagree with the religion, then do not go).

So for a christening, you don't chat (except during the hymns) and you definitely don't leave litter.

You can arrange a private christening, but most churches hold them in a main service because it is a formal welcome to the Church community. Most people can conduct themselves to an adequate standard for an hour or so, and most churches have a Sunday School, crèche or just a bit at the back for smaller children who would find that hard.

2tiredtocare Thu 03-Oct-13 12:16:12

My sons christening was around two hours, far too long for the little children to stand so they all went outside to play with the Sunday school helpers

badbride Thu 03-Oct-13 12:15:30

You didn't happen to have a visit from this lot, by any chance OP? grin

HairyGrotter Thu 03-Oct-13 12:15:15

I behave politely in any public situation, couldn't give a flying fuck if it's a church or not, it should be a universal knowledge of behaviour in public places, not just for the religious venues hmm

nickelbabe Thu 03-Oct-13 12:14:44

we had one a few weeks ago where the entire party (and we're talking about 25-30 people here) left after the hymn following the baptism part.

FrauMoose Thu 03-Oct-13 12:13:26

Not sure that Christ was alive today he'd be subscribing to the more repressive middle-class codes of behaviour, housekeeping etc that get confused with Anglicanism. The records indicate he was a guy who liked a party. Much more, 'Suffer the little kids and their parents - however they happen to be dressed - to come to me.'

Tavv Thu 03-Oct-13 12:11:51

YANBU to hope people would behave politely and not take the church's hospitality for granted.

However the church is there for everyone, no matter who they are or how they behave, so a warm welcome should be extended to all.

SunshineMMum Thu 03-Oct-13 12:09:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

littleomar Thu 03-Oct-13 11:51:39

why don't churches accept that christenings are going to attract a more diverse range of people than normal services, including small children, and schedule them separately? the last one I went to was close on two hours - I can grit my teeth for that long but my three year old can't. I have removed my (appropriately dressed) children from various churches when they've been unable to behave but people getting all catsbum about children behaving like children doesn't seem particularly Christian to me.

SunshineMMum Thu 03-Oct-13 11:46:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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