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More help needed for radio interview ....what are your thoughts on God Parents and Christenings?

(66 Posts)
Rachel (mumsnet) Mon 21-Mar-05 13:13:21

Tomorrow morning Carrie will be doing an interview for BBC Southern Counties Radio and we need your views.

The basic area are:
Are christenings still really popular - even though church going in general is in decline?
Who do people choose as godparents - friends/ relatives?
How seriously do people take the job of godparent? Is it still seen as an honour?
Do many people regret who they choose as a godparent? (Ie. They choose a good friend but 5 years down the line they never see them.) etc etc

Thanks so much for any opinions/thoughts or anecdotes in advance.

dyzzidi Mon 21-Mar-05 13:16:19

I am godmother to my Stepsister! I thought it was a stupid choice a I was already her sister and would already look after her. Am also godmother to my nephew which is actually quite nice. I think christenings are still fairly popular in the north west and I have been to three this year already>

Cod Mon 21-Mar-05 13:28:35

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RudyDudy Mon 21-Mar-05 13:29:06

I don't think Christenings are as popular - I've only been to one recently where the parents weren't really church-goers. The others have all been church-going people anyway but in my friends and family, at least, they are definitely in the minority.

We are not religious and so had a "welcome party" for DS. He has 'godparents' who despite many other suggestions for names always get called that as people know what you are talking about then. Although we weren't having him christened we felt it was important to have people in his life who had a special sort of 'mentoring' role. We chose friends as we felt that relatives already had a role. Also I think it can be quite awkward - e.g. I am godmother to my eldest niece but she doesn't really get any benefit from that as I would never treat her any differently from her 2 sisters.

I am a godmother to a very close friend's DS and I thought it was a huge honour to be asked - in many ways it means more than doing it for family. At the moment my DGS is under 1 so I don't feel like I've contributed very much but I hope that as he gets older I will.

I think the godparent role is a valuable part of a child's and parents' support network.

Marina Mon 21-Mar-05 13:29:17

From the perspective of a practising Christian (wishy-washy Anglo-Catholic liberal C of E):

We had both our children baptised and hope they will be confirmed, but then we attend church most Sundays...

We chose friends who were (for the most part) practising Christians...one is not a regular churchgoer but has a strong Christian faith. We had to "justify" her to our Parish Priest as she was raised a Unitarian and therefore not baptised.
We didn't choose relatives, despite being under some pressure to do so, because none of our relatives are practising Christians. We wanted the public affirmations and promises to have meaning and sincerity.
We take our roles as godparents very seriously and were honoured to be chosen. As none of our siblings have children, we hope our friends' children/our godchildren will be like cousins to our two. We aim to back the parents in providing a loving, Christian presence in our godsons' lives, with a little special extra card and gift at birthday and Christmas, always with a broadly Christian theme. We also mark Easter, their saints' day and the anniversary of their baptism
We regret choosing one set of godparents for ds...we maintain civil contact but the friendship is gone for good I think
One thing I would like to highlight is to encourage C of E families to opt for baptism during the main Sunday service. Congregations love welcoming new Christians and their families. I always feel a bit sad when families insist on "being done in private". Joining the Church should be a public occasion

Cod Mon 21-Mar-05 13:30:08

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Cod Mon 21-Mar-05 13:31:18

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Hayls Mon 21-Mar-05 13:32:05

Most of my friends have had christenings but we decided not to do it as we are not churchgoers. we wanted dd to make the decision herself when she was older. WRT to godparents, I think most people still take it seriously and we have decided to ask dh's brother to act as our representative ie he wouldn't necessarily be responsible for dd but would be key in deciding who would be. Hope that makes sense.
Even though I'm not religious, I would consider it to e an honour to be asked to be e godparent

Cod Mon 21-Mar-05 13:32:10

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wilbur Mon 21-Mar-05 13:32:36

I loved dd's and ds's christenings, they were very special days for me even though I would say I am a Christian by culture slightly more than by absolute faith (ie I go to Church every now and then, enjoy and am moved by the service and feel the rituals of the Christian church are important to me). When we were having dd baptised, the vicar came round to talk to us about what it meant, which I thought was good, and he said something that really struck a chord. He mentioned that there had been a church on the site of our current church since 1100 or so and he pointed out that if someone living here in 1100 came to our church now, there would be nothing they would recognise - the clothes, the buildings, the cars, everything would be entirely alien to them, BUT they would recognise the act of putting water on a baby's head, they would understand that as a symbol of welcome and celebration of a new life. I thought that was wonderful and I loved being part of this historical act as well as appreciating the spiritual elements and hoping that my children's lives will be full of (woolly, liberal CofE ) Christian values like tolerance, kindness, honesty and so on. (BTW please don't think I feel that those values only exist in the Christian faith as I know that they are central to many beliefs).

Re godparents - we chose friends we have known for years because I think family is already family and special because of that. They are a mixed bag - one of ds's godmothers is Jewish, one from a strict Catholic background, others never set foot inside a church. They all seem very pleased to be a special part of the children's lives though.

Cod Mon 21-Mar-05 13:33:05

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NomDePlume Mon 21-Mar-05 13:35:12

Cod - "hayls in all respect I htink the " let my kid decide" argument is a little illogical!!

god do you let them decide on whehter to go to school?
or to go to hospital?"

That's a crappy arguement, you must realise that ?! Choosing to let your child choose their religious/spiritual path when they are old enough to do so is nothing like giving your kids the option of school/no school or hospital/no hospital if they are sick.

Bonkerz Mon 21-Mar-05 13:36:28

I had my son named in a church, we didnt have hymns but chose special songs that had some meaning to us (embarassingly i chose 'greatest love of all sang by whitney!) The 'godparents' were important to me as being a single mum at the time it was a way of reaffirming my will and who were to be the people who would care for my son if anything happened to me. I made very good choices as all 3 are still massive people in my sons life and i cant ever see it being any other way. I remember my mum telling me i was christened when i was young and although i know who my godparents are i didnt see them alot when i was growing up.
Namings are becoming more popular and i think churches (especially CofE) are being more flexible as they realise that although people are not as religious we all still want to be seen as doing good in gods eyes.

NomDePlume Mon 21-Mar-05 13:37:23

Frankly, Cod, your arguement is illogical.

lucy5 Mon 21-Mar-05 13:38:11

I didnt know who to pick for dd ,so she has 6 god parents, my sister and brother, my brother in law, an old friend, who cant have kids and a couple. The old friend takes her role seriously, always remembers birthdays etc. The couple take their role very seriously and are highly honoured to be dds gps. They have asked to be called special names to show their importance in dds life, as we live in Spain they are tio and tia, which means uncle and aunty.

katierocket Mon 21-Mar-05 13:39:23

My brother asked me to be godparent to my nephew and I did feel really honoured but I wasn't allowed to be because I'm not christened (youngest of 4, all the rest of them are, think they forgot when they got to me!)
I have to say, and this is just my opinion, that I don't really like christenings. I'm not religious so obviously that is most of it but I especially find it odd when people get their children christened and then never go to church afterwards - I mean why?

WigWamBam Mon 21-Mar-05 13:41:11

I'm also one who wants to let my child decide for herself whether she wants to follow a faith, rather than forcing one onto her, particularly one that I don't share. As I am no longer a practicing Christian it would be hypocritical of me to expect her to be baptised into a Church with no intention of bringing her up in that faith. I will teach her about the religions of the world when she is old enough to understand, and it will be up to her whether she chooses to follow a faith or not. I don't think it's quite the same as allowing her to choose for herself whether she goes to school - for me (and it is just my opinion) religion is a life choice, and one that she should make herself when she is informed enough to make the decision herself.

Sari Mon 21-Mar-05 13:46:07

Well, my cousins must certainly regret having chosen me as godmother to their dd1. I've been the most useless one ever, have missed most birthdays and Christmasses, don't even know how old she is (about 12 or 13)or when her birthday is exactly (too embarrassed to ask now)and have only met her a handful of times. It's been a major source of guilt and embarrassment to me but still hasn't made me do anything about it.

I should never have accepted but I was only 21 when they asked and didn't really think beyond the honour of it all. If anyone asked me now (don't imagine they will with my track record!) I would definitely say no.

We haven't had either ds christened and they don't have godparents - I couldn't bear the thought of inflicting it on anyone and besides we're not churchgoers or religious.

My own godparents were all very good at giving presents for Christmas and birthdays and to be honest that was all they did. Not that I wanted anything more from them, and I could even have done without the presents as I have a complete loathing of writing those insincere thank you letters for presents you probably didn't want in the first place.

OK, so now I sound really unpleasant and should probably leave my thoughts on godparents at that!

NomDePlume Mon 21-Mar-05 13:47:04

KatieRocket, I so agree. DH wanted to get DD Christened as DS1 & 2 have been 'done' (they are sons from his first marriage). When I asked him why, he said it would be 'nice', this coming from a non-religious man (at times actually quite Anti-Christianity) is a bit of weak and odd reason. I asked him what the point was (he couldn't give one), and also what exactly had DH and his exW done to support their son's entrance into the kingdom of god (or whatever happens) - a big fat nothing. The only times the kids have been to church is for the usual weddings, funerals & christenings. Nor do they have any sort of spiritual/religous routine or teachings at home. Pointless if you are a non-Christian, IMO. Both DH and I would class ourselves as Agnostic.

Cam Mon 21-Mar-05 13:47:22

hayls, my dd was christened at the age of 6, after attending Sunday school for a year. She chose to be and also helped to choose her godparents: 1.the mother of her best friend, 2.my best girlfriend and 3. one of her uncles (uncle by marriage)
It was one of the best days ever in that dd knew exactly what she was doing and "performed" marvellously. Agree 100 per cent with Marina that during the service is great, ours was (and extra special because it coincided with the Mayoral Civic Service).
Lots of babies get christened in our church and then you never see the family again which is a shame.

Cod Mon 21-Mar-05 13:52:21

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JoolsToo Mon 21-Mar-05 13:52:24

I've only been to church sporadically through my life but I try to behave in a christian way.

I have 3 children, none of whom were baptised.
DD did this for herself before she got married - she wanted to do it and it was lovely ceremony - my boys haven't done and I can't see them doing it.

I am a godmother but I'll hold my hands up and say I have not been a good one. I am godmother to my neice and tbh they're not a religious family either - imho its one of those things you just do for a lot of families with no real meaning behind what you are doing iyswim.

for this reason when my best friend at work (who is 20 years younger than me!) asked me to be godmother to her daughter I had to say that I was honoured to be asked but wasn't up to the job and declined - we're still friends

katierocket Mon 21-Mar-05 13:52:35

You see that's just it, I'm not religious but obviously respect the wishes of those that are and which to have their children christened. But what is the point of doing it just because you feel you should, especially when you have no intention of going to church or bringing up your child religiously. I just don't get it - yet I know so many couples who do it.

JoolsToo Mon 21-Mar-05 13:54:22

its the same with getting married in church tho' isn't it?



[ducks]

Cod Mon 21-Mar-05 13:54:46

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