A ceremony for your baby welcomes the child into the family and community. For families who are not churchgoers and do not want a baptism or christening, but do want to celebrate the arrival of a new baby, the following ceremonies are a possible alternative. Below are samples of some of the ceremonies I offer. I also Tailor-make ceremonies to your specific requirements. You have the option to be hands on with every detail of planning your ceremony, or you may wish to give me an idea of what you want and I will plan it for you.
The birth of a new baby is a time of joy and celebration, and most parents want to share that joy with family and friends.
However many parents these days feel that they do not want a traditional church christening, either because they do not hold any religious beliefs themselves, or because they may want their child to be able to choose their own beliefs as they get older.
A baby naming ceremony offers a beautiful alternative, giving you a chance to openly welcome your child and affirm your love and commitment to them surrounded by a loving circle of family and friends.
I conduct ceremonies for many different families: Married Couples, unmarried parents, single parents, adoptive parents, step parents, parents who are of different religions and cultures, and lesbian and gay parents who have children.
Each ceremony is unique and individually written for you personally. There is no set pattern or script which must be followed. You are entirely free to choose readings, poems or music which you may like to include in the ceremony. You may wish to write your own vows and promises to your child. Prayers, hymns or blessings may be included in the ceremony, but this is entirely down to your own choice.
If you have older children, you may like to include them in the ceremony as well. If they are old enough they may like to read a poem, sing a song or play an instrument. If they are too young to actually participate in the ceremony itself, then it may be that you simply add a few extra words to welcome the older child as a “big brother or sister”, and reaffirm your love and commitment to your older child/children at the same time.
Although not strictly necessary, most namings include the appointment of a non-religious Godparent. You may still choose to use the title of Godparent, though you may prefer a different title for them, for example: supporting or guiding adult. These people will promise to take a special interest in your child's future and to be there as a friend and a source of welcoming advice for the child outside of the immediate family as he or she grows up. Godparents are encouraged whenever possible to write their own promises to the child, so that they can be personal and meaningful and will hopefully be promises that each can keep.
A naming ceremony is also for an adult who has found the need to change his/her name and lifestyle.
A baby blessing is a public opportunity to have blessings bestowed on the child and the parents.
Some parents will opt for a blessing ceremony without the baptism ritual. This way they reserve their child's right to decide on being baptized or not. A blessing or welcoming ceremony can be held whenever the parents feel ready – sometimes within the first few months of life, often around the child’s first birthday. (And no, its never too late to hold a blessing ceremony for your child!)
Blessings or good wishes may be bestowed on the child by the significant people in her life, eg parents, grandparents, older brothers and sisters, godparents or guardians who will have a special role in the child’s life, and/or by the whole assembled circle of family and friends.
The decision to baptize a child is entirely up to the parents. Many times the baby is baptized into the faith of his/her guardians. For those who do not claim any particular religion, but worship God in a spiritual way, they may choose to have their child baptized with light or love.
Modern families are composed of many religious backgrounds or none at all. Many interfaith couples are seeking private rituals that will honor the religious philosophies of both parents. Therefore, a customized baby celebration appeals to the multi-faith families.
You can then relax and enjoy food, drinks and celebration afterward - saving time, money and the inconvenience of changing venues. The ritual can be performed and still be sacred. If you choose a Christening, your child will be christened into the Christian faith, not into any specific denomination and as parents you will receive a Certificate of Christening.
Hint: Combining the birthday party and a naming ceremony often works really well. Your celebrant will provide you with lots of other helpful ideas and suggestions.