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Christening - yes, no, perhaps?

(27 Posts)
Mouette Wed 26-Aug-09 15:25:47

This is a totally unscientific poll. Did you get your children christened, or are you planning to do so? If yes, why? (assuming you're not a regular churchgoer, if you are the answer is obvious). Just curious really. My church has noted a decline in babies getting baptised, although a small rise in adult baptisms. So was just wondering about the reasons why people may or may not get their children baptised nowadays, when there's not really any social pressure to do so anymore. Not judging anybody! There's no right or wrong answer. Thanks!

weegiemum Wed 26-Aug-09 15:34:13

No, we didn't.

We are regular churchgoers. At the time of our children's births we were members of an Episcopalian (Scottish Episcopal Church) congregation where infant baptism was the norm, but both dh and I have theological issues against infant baptism and decided not to go ahead with it for our children.

We moved house 3 years ago and began attending our local baptist church. Despite having been Christians for over 20 years each, dh and I had never ben baptised as adults and we did this after about 8 months (once the church had got to know us, etc). At the same service our 3 children were dedicated.

We want our children to have the chance to make up their own mind on such an important issue as baptism. It took years of mental wrangling for dh and I to sort out our own opinions on this as we had been "Christened" as infants.

flowerybeanbag Wed 26-Aug-09 15:39:13

No, we didn't with DS1 and won't with DS2 when he comes along either, because we are not particularly religious and don't attend any church.

I was christened myself but that was back in 1977 when basically everyone was christened regardless of whether their parents were churchgoers.

My personal view is that it is hypocritical to either get married in a church or have DC christened in a church if you don't attend and aren't particularly religious.

Interestingly, there have been a couple of 'when he gets christened' comments about DS from older members of our extended family, automatically assuming we would do that anyway despite having no reason to believe we go to church.

MrsBadger Wed 26-Aug-09 15:48:35

No and No

I am a regularish churchgoer but I just couldn't make the promises in the service with any degree of sincerity, and DH certainly couldn't. Even a dedication was a bit too much.
We might have had a service of thanksgiving but tbh I didn;t have the energy to organise it when dd was tiny and it seemed a bit silly having a thanksgiving for the safe arrival of a hulking great 1yo, so we had a big first birthday party instead.

felt no social pressure to christen her - I and my family are all nonconformist so are down with the idea of adult baptism, and DH's family are raging atheists and would have been livid if we'd had dd done.

in fact we have felt quite squirmy attending christenings of freinds/relatives of ours who seem to have succumbed to the social pressure but aren;t regualr chruchgoers (though cannot judge the state of their inward beliefs)

actually I know one of these was because the mother had grown up in a small rural village where the church was a big deal and suffered at school due to not having been christened / not doing confrimation etc.
So although to my knowledge she and her husband believe absolutely zip and never go to the church in their small rural village, their dd was christened in the hope it's help integrate her into the community. Or something. I am her godmother (because they know so few qualified people) and am interested to see how it turns out.

moaningminniewhingesagain Wed 26-Aug-09 15:52:45

No and no, don't feel particularly expected to by the families either really. DH is a remarried, lapsed catholic, and I am atheist. I was christened as a baby but wish I hadn't been.

I would not be a godparent either as it would be hypocritical. Attended a nephews christening fairly recently and it felt so wrong to be in the church, very uncomfortable.

notquitenormal Wed 26-Aug-09 16:31:43

No and No. We're athiests. DPs family are very committed catholics and were upset at first.

We simply explained that we weren't going to promise to do somethng that we had no intention of doing (i.e. raise DS catholic.)

They were okay with that. I think all their dissapproval got used up on the brothers that became evangelical protestants... complete with female vicar and adult baptismsgrin

Of all the people I know who have had a christening recently; most have done it out of some notion of a future a school place.

Flyonthewindscreen Wed 26-Aug-09 17:21:21

No and no - I am an atheist and would feel a complete hypocrite getting the DC christened and DH is a vague non church going sort of Christian but doesn't feel as strongly as me so I won out!

gingerbunny Wed 26-Aug-09 17:34:07

i am def not religious, we had a naming day for our ds1 and are currnetly planning ds2's. we wrote it ourselves and made promises to him of what we would try and do as he grew up. My parents, brothers and three of our closes friends did the same. it was lovely, much better then a christening, as it was completely about him and our famiy and not a production line all about god.

Mouette Wed 26-Aug-09 19:29:08

Thanks to all who answered, very interesting posts. Weegiemum, you're quite right, I sometimes forget not all churches baptise infants! I like the idea of a naming day - nice secular alternative, gingerbunny. I know what you mean about the production line, I can tell you it's deliberate - in our church so many people come to baptise their kids but never some to church before or after, they group baptisms to minimise disruption for the regular congregation. We're members of the congregation so our DS should get a ceremony all to himself when he gets baptised - we got to choose the date as well!

skyward Sat 29-Aug-09 09:35:00

We did and I felt really uncomfortable about it - almost wanted to cancel at last minute but DH wanted to. Now we're expecting a third and I'm anguishing over what to do - don't want them to be left out but then still feel weird about it. I deciced to put all the issues to one side and just enjoy the day, which makes me very vacuous and not like me because I didn't get married in a church, but hey, you live and learn. x

piscesmoon Sat 29-Aug-09 09:46:22

We did-DH doesn't go to church at all and I am an occasional churchgoer. It wasn't easy getting godparents because we knew that some of the people we really wanted couldn't make the vows. They are very specific and they rule out a lot of people. I am not happy about the part where you promise to get them confirmed. I never had any intention of that. I took them to church, they opted quite young not to go and I didn't pressurise it would only make them completely anti. I don't think that anyone should get confirmed until they are an adult and it should be a completely free choice-not fulfilling a promise made by someone else on their behalf as a baby.I think that perhaps it is time for the church to rethink the service.

Mouette Sat 29-Aug-09 11:57:19

In our church (C&E not Roman Catholic) we confirm teenagers and adults, so they're definitively old enough to make the choice. Also looking at our baptism service, there's nothing in there that says we have to promise to confirm them. Agree there's no point in confirming young children, the whole point of a confirmation is to confirm they're happy with the vows taken for them as babies.

piscesmoon Sat 29-Aug-09 14:27:34

I was happy to promise Mouette because it seems a bit of a grey area-I think the assumption is that they will be brought up in the church and make their own promises when old enough and in the meantime godparents make them on their own behalf. When I made them it was my intention that DCs would make up their own mind's entirely. My father was 50 when he got confirmed ,which seemed a much more sensible age than 14 yrs.

Mouette Sat 29-Aug-09 17:55:39

I'm 38 and still not confirmed - maybe I'll be mature enough next year? grin

l39 Sat 29-Aug-09 20:40:22

We were married in church and had our children christened even though we are not usually churchgoers. If it doesn't bother the vicar, surely it shouldn't bother strangers.

We live in the catchment area of a C of E school with an outstanding ofsted report. The school doesn't require pupils to be christened or parents to be churchgoers but it does have the vicar in very often for assemblies and holds its harvest festivals and plays for Mother's Day and Christmas in the church. Since they were going to be exposed to all that Christianity anyway, why shouldn't we have them christened?

Plus, a schoolmate of my sister died in an accident as a teenager. The parents had never got round to having him christened - but wanted him to have a funeral in church. As he'd never been christened the vicar had to say no.

[Ok my last reason is stupid and I have never told my husband! But generations of my ancestors have believed a baby who died unbaptised would go to hell. I don't believe that, obviously, or I'd be a churchgoer or a loony (or both). But if the worst happened and one of my children died in infancy, I'd want them to have been christened. It's ridiculous I know, just like people who don't give their children MMR for fear of autism. But unlike not vaccinating, christening won't hurt either my own kids or the community at large. So I gave in to my superstition.]

Jojay Sat 29-Aug-09 20:53:27

No, and probably not.

We got married in church and attend maybe 2-3 times a year - Xmas, Easter etc.

We had a Thanksgiving service for Ds1 and are planning the same for Ds2 soon.

I knew that none of the people we would choose as 'Godparents' were particularly religious and though I am not a regular church goer I have my beliefs and respect the church enough not stand up there and lie through my teeth, or ask a friend to either.

As a personal view I see the 'Godparents' role as more of a lifelong mentor and friend, rather than to give spiritual guidance. I should probably give these people a different title, but in our society there doesn't seem to be one.

DH was asked to be a Godfather to a friends daughter, though the parents knew he was not christened or a regular churchgoer. They asked him to lie to the Vicar if asked. I thought it was appalling, though he wasn't that bothered but I felt so uncomfortable through the whole service sad

mazzystartled Sat 29-Aug-09 20:59:32

No and no
We don't go to church. I am distinctly agnostic
IMO it would have been hypocritical and disrespectful to have the children christened

angrypixie Sat 29-Aug-09 22:07:57

No. We are atheists and didn't marry in church either.
We have had welcome parties for each of our 3 children introducing them as babies into their community of family & friends. I loved our very personal event.

piscesmoon Sat 29-Aug-09 22:10:23

I have never heard of having to have been christened to have a funeral in church-it is a question that has never been asked of me. People used to have strange beliefs about babies who weren't baptised l39, but that died out years ago. I would have expected the church to welcome people rather than exclude.

feedthegoat Sat 29-Aug-09 22:11:56

No. I am not religious. We also had a civil wedding ceremony.

Tillyscoutsmum Sat 29-Aug-09 22:23:14

No and No. We're both atheists and would feel hypocritical. We married in a civil ceremony but were both christened as children.

Tai Sun 30-Aug-09 18:20:37

Yes, we did and we also married in a church (RC). I'm an occasional church goer. Which means I get to church 2 Sundays a month, this is because the only English speaking service is held in our RC church which is 1.5hrs drive from our home.

Our Priest is also compliant to the fact that you can't always make it to church for personal reason or the like and that to speak/Pray to god, well this can be done at home, car or queue in a bank.

Also wanted to add that the christening service we had focused very much on the religious side of things, parents and god parents responsibilities and not just a quick in and out job like other services I have attended

BunnyLebowski Sun 30-Aug-09 18:27:28

No and absolutely not.

We are both absolutely atheist. Would be totally hypocritical to have dd christened.

Took a bit of explaining to my Irish catholic family though smile. Luckily they all see us as the weird non-conforming hippies of the clan and didn't kick up too much of a fuss!

Naming days are a nice idea but personally we just didn't feel the need to celebrate dd's arrival in any formal way. We celebrate it every day smile.

Mouette Sun 30-Aug-09 21:03:02

Thanks to all who answered. Uh I agree one should not lie, it's just not right. But I think personally it's perfectly OK to baptise children even if the parents aren't particularly religious, though if children are baptised they should be taught about Christianity, otherwise, it makes a mockery of the whole thing. So if the children go to a church school they're obviously going to get that exposure so it's fine.
I'm sure the CofE will bury anyone if they're asked nowadays, am quite sure you don't have to be christened. They will bury stillborn babies if asked to, and they're obviously not christened. I think we've moved on a bit thankfully.
Going to church twice a month? Crikey for me that's "regular churchgoer" not occasional. We certainly don't make it to church every Sunday since DS was born! smile

mumeeee Sun 30-Aug-09 21:29:49

Our children were baptised at an age where they could decide for themselves and had already made a decision to follow Christ.

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