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How do non church-goers get their children Christened?

(42 Posts)
StarlightMcKenzie Sun 29-Sep-13 00:10:23

Just that really. Moved to a new area (again) and I we are planning on settling here now. Woukd like to get our baby christened as he's already walking and chosen God Parents are about to give up on us.

Never were big church goers but tend to spend a couple of years dipping in and out of various ones before we get a regular (didn't mean it to sound so similar to going to the pub. Sorry).

But I don't want to wait that long and I'm beginning to feel Gods impatience.

QuintessentialShadows Sun 29-Sep-13 21:13:24

Was it not introduced as an alternative to circumcision?

mnistooaddictive Sun 29-Sep-13 21:03:04

Christening isn't biblical it was introduced when childhood mortality was high and I believe it was based in a misunderstanding of the bible. The bible talks about baptism of adults.

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 29-Sep-13 21:02:25

Otherwise why would the vicar at a hospice 200 miles from where we live have offered to do it?

And how does it work for travellers and other people (like us) who have had to move so much.

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 29-Sep-13 20:57:43

No it isn't. It is about being welcomed into the Christian Family.

nooka Sun 29-Sep-13 20:47:45

Starlight getting christened is about being welcomed into the church community, so it's not really that odd for a church to feel that the families of those getting christened to make some sort of commitment before the ceremony. I would suspect that these 'rules' are n place simply to put off people who are purely getting their children christened in order to have the certificate for a preferred school, or for an excuse for a party.

I'm an atheist so neither of my children are christened (although my mother finds that sad and my sister and brother in law would perform the ceremony no doubt). It is an important ceremony with fairly serious vows and should not I think be taken as lightly as many parents seem to.

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 29-Sep-13 20:44:07

Because I feel a duty to my 3rd child to not be the only member of my family not Christened and risk him believe that neither he nor being a Christian is important.

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 29-Sep-13 20:40:41

I will set foot in a church again. I hope one day to find the right one, get over some of the aspects of going to church that panic me and make my peace with God enough to mean what I say in the liturgy.

I would however, go under sufferance for a vicar who insisted I attended and feel I'd 'done time' as payment for their services and feel relieved of my obligations thereafter.

QuintessentialShadows Sun 29-Sep-13 20:27:53

I think they are both disillusioned by the Catholic church, but Christian if you see what I mean.

QuintessentialShadows if your friends came to my church of course I would welcome them. If they wanted their child baptised into the Church of England then yes that could happen but changing denominations is a big thing to do so there would be more to talk about in baptism preparation.

QuintessentialShadows Sun 29-Sep-13 20:18:40

My mother had a right panic about my children, she firmly believed God would not know them, and not love them until they had been baptized. And if they were to die before baptizm, they would be condemned in the same way as a non-believer. confused hmm

Most people of the same school of Lutheran (Læstadian) faith as her believed similar which is why they had a habit of popping into the hospital chapel for the Christening on the way out! No ceremony and no celebration, just a quickie for the road!

birdybear Sun 29-Sep-13 20:15:34

What is about your attendance at church op ? I really don't understand why you want them christened but Will never set foot in the church again after? Why not? What makes you think God is getting impatient with you? I am very confused as to what you believe.

God couldn't give a monkeys whether someone is christened, dedicated, baptised or what. What God wants is a relationship with you, where you accept his love and have a relationship with him. Traditions are not important.

QuintessentialShadows Sun 29-Sep-13 20:13:06

If they were in your parish, hypothetically speaking

QuintessentialShadows Sun 29-Sep-13 20:12:44

thegreenheartofmanyroundabouts Really?

So, you would baptize my friends child?
He is a divorced Catholic.
His new partner (also Catholic in name at least) is married still - they are working on an amicable divorce.

If this young couple came to your CofE Church to baptize their child, you would welcome them?

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 29-Sep-13 20:08:31

I said God is getting impatient with me. The God parents certainly are which I am taking as HIs word. No-one is getting impatient with my children except me at times. I don't believe He woukd treat them any diffetently should they need to enter His Kingdom un-christened . His beef would be with me, not them, as it is about my attendance at church or otherwise.

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 29-Sep-13 20:02:32

Blimey, I'd a vicar insists we attend for 6 months you can be sure when 6 months has passed I will feel I have paid my dues and never set foot in there again.

Oh good a discussion on canon law! When I was at theological college it was made very clear to those training as clergy that we could not refuse to baptise a baby or child whose parents requested it if they lived in the parish and had their Godparents ready and willing. It is certainly the case that some clergy (including the bishop whose campaigning organisation Baptism Integrity was quoted on page 1) would prefer to only baptise children of regular church attenders or go the whole hog and keep baptism for adults with dedications for babies but this rather excellent site points out that this goes against canon law.


birdybear Sun 29-Sep-13 19:25:44

QuintessentialShadows, i didn't make any sweeping generalisations about parents' reasoning behind a Christening. In fact i didn't comment or mention any reasons at all! I just said what a christening and a dedication is. I can if you want to, but its fairly obvious i think.

I agree people have different ways of doing things and that is their choice, however i stand by what i say that the majority of people having their children christened are not christians (although they may say they are)and do not have any intention of bringing up the child in a christian family.

The point i was making is that the child is not choosing their faith. With a dedication you are not choosing that child's faith either. As you mention adult baptism, i think there are very few adults who choose to be baptised as adults and don't then follow their faith going forward.

So, Jesus doesn't care about christenings (or dedications either!) they are both just ceremonies but my point for the OP was children matter to God and he doesn't get impatient with them, which is what the OP said.

meditrina Sun 29-Sep-13 18:37:02

Canonical law on baptisms here. Since 1960s, there has been no 'right' to baptism.

In England you have a right to be baptised in the C of E church in the parish in which you live. The only reason to delay is in Canon (the law of the church) B22.4:

"No minister shall refuse or, save for the purpose of preparing or instructing the parents or guardians or godparents, delay to baptize any infant within his cure that is brought to the church to be baptized, provided that due notice has been given and the provisions relating to godparents in these Canons are observed."

There are differing views about baptising babies in the C of E (and in the wider church) and some vicars/rectors will interpret the canon to mean that parents should be making a commitment to faith such as going on an alpha course or similar if they are not already members of the congregation of that church. Other churches are happy to baptise as long as the parents and godparents are happy to make the promises in good faith. I belong to the latter variety and had all of my three children baptised at around 6 months old.

Adult v infant baptism is one of those issues that can get Christians very hot under the collar....

If you want your baby/child baptised in a church outside of the parish you live in then the vicar/rector will usually suggest you go to your own parish where you have a right to be baptised. If you don't want to do that then they may suggest that you worship at that church for a period which could be up to six months and then you count as a member of the congregation and the baptism can go ahead.

QuintessentialShadows Sun 29-Sep-13 14:52:55

Birdy, some very sweeping statements about Christenings there, and parents' reasoning behind a Christening. Borderline insulting. Remember, it is just different ways of doing things. I have not dissed the ways of the Vineyard, or other baptist Churches.

I think you will find that most Christians have the same intentions for the child whether they bring them to a Christening or a dedication.
The issue of the "non-consenting" child is addressed later.

Dont forget that christened children who are old enough to decide for themselves go through a confirmation. Catholic children have both First Holy Communion and Confirmations, both of which serve to teach the child about faith, ethics and the bible.

Just as you will find some people bringing their child to a Christening with no intention of actually bringing the child up as a Christian, you will find people going through adult baptism for whatever reason, and who may not follow up on the faith side. I would say, these people are not actually Christians even if they go through with a ritual based in faith. You cant blame the actual Church for that. Nor other Christians, be they baptists or CofE or Catholics, or whatever denomination.

birdybear Sun 29-Sep-13 12:50:29

Quintessentialshadows, a christening is people promising on behalf of the child something that the child knows nothing about and therefore are not making an informed choice to follow God, usually with non Christian god parents making promises they have no intentions of keeping.
A dedication is thanking God for the child, and asking for the help of the church to raise that child in a Christian family and then when the child is old enough to understand the beliefs, they can choose to believe if they wish to. Also just to ask God to look after and bless the child and the family in raising the child.
Very different :-)

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 29-Sep-13 11:19:31

Thanks Quint. I hope I meet you in my church research. I may well stay then.........

It's such a shame that we had to move so much. Where we thought we were going to live forever had a great church and we had a good relationship with the tutters at the back when we brought our children (so easily bought with child-made crafts).

Perhaps we can have that again, though the reasons for our move made me fall out with God a bit. Though I am at liberty to cut off my nose to spite my face that doesn't extend to refusing Him my children.

QuintessentialShadows Sun 29-Sep-13 10:03:54

"God will do home visits"

I totally agree that you can meet with God outside regular communal worship.

QuintessentialShadows Sun 29-Sep-13 10:03:00

There are many denominations of Christianity, and they have different viewpoints of baptism. Some do dedications and adult baptism as they interpret their bible thus. Others believe in infant/child baptism.

Catholics often emphasize what Peter says.
Peter explained what happens at baptism "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38).

The teaching was not restricted to adults. "For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him" (2:39). We also read: "Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name" (Acts 22:16).

These commands are not restricted to adults. There is a necessary connection between baptism and salvation, a connection explicitly stated in 1 Peter 3:21: "Baptism . . . now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ."

As I have been brought up Lutheran, we go very much by
"Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it" (Luke 18:15-17).
This is the main point of the baptism and any children's liturgy in a Lutheran church.

I think this Lutheran website discusses the issue well:

However, so much about faith cant be explained or reasoned with, and I would not see anything strange in a non-church goer having a feeling that God wants her children baptized. I see that as OP saying that there is something in her telling her that she should open up the door to Jesus for her child, and that can never be a bad thing!

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 29-Sep-13 09:52:34

Jesus want my children baptised. This is my belief.

I'm not sure I need stuff explaining, not at the basic level anyway. My DH and I were confirmed a few years ago and my other children are christened. I've also attended various bible study classes. However I don't 'mind' going over it again if the vicar can handle my family in his/her church.

I understand why Communal Worship is important, but for those of us that can't do it for many reasons, God will do home visits.

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