Baby Naming Ceremonies Q&A

Written by    Last updated: March 12, 2007

Q: What is the difference between a christening and a thanksgiving service in the Church of England?

A: This service was initiated in 1999 by the Church of England as a response to a demand for a religion‐oriented but non‐committal ceremony. It is designed for parents who either see it a preliminary to baptism or an alternative for those that don’t want a baptism and yet want to give thanks to God for the special gift of a child. The Church keeps a register for children who have had a thanksgiving service, which is separate from the baptismal register and the child receives a certificate of the ceremony. In place of godparents, there is a role for ‘supporting adults’, who may make a similar commitment of care for the child without committing to teach the child Christianity in the same way as godparents. For more information contact your parish vicar.

Q: Does the godparent have the same responsibility as a legal guardian?

A: No.  Parental responsibility is defined in the Children’s Act of 1988, and parents wishing to appoint godparents as the legal guardians in the case of their deaths should specify this in their wills.

Q: Can men be included in a baby shower?

A: Usually it’s only the close women friends and relatives who are invited to the baby shower. However, increasingly men are being included as well. A lot depends on whether it is going to be a ‘girly’ or ‘cutesy’ event or not. On the plus side, it’s great for dad‐to‐be to feel included and your friends can invite their partners as well. Make sure that the shower games are ‘men friendly’.

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