What is a Thanksgiving Service ?
Until a generation ago, most children in Britain were baptised as infants, often very unthinkingly. It was something to be “done”, like vaccination! Today, many fewer infants are baptised. Partly this reflects the migration of people of other faiths to Britain, but also it represents a welcome trend not to treat baptism unthinkingly. So, in the generally more secular society of today, parents who want a religious “rite of passage” for their child are treating the subject with greater seriousness. However, the promises and affirmations they are required to make in a Baptism service are solemn and powerful.
Some people therefore decide that a Thanksgiving Service is more appropriate than a Baptism. Some parents prefer not to make the public vows of Christian commitment which are a part of the Baptism service. A Baptism is a signal that they wish to join the church, and they may not be ready for that yet. Some parents believe that the child should decide for themselves, when they are older, whether or not they would like to be baptised.
Whatever the reason, baptism may not feel right at this time, but they still want to celebrate God’s gift of a child, and say thank-you publicly and joyfully.
So what’s it about ?
The Thanksgiving Service offers this opportunity to publicly celebrate the birth of a child. This service allow parents and families to express their delight and gratitude to God for the new being they are welcoming into their homes, to pray for the child and to ask others to pray for them. This is not Baptism, which is the sacrament by which we are welcomed into membership of the church. It is quite simply a celebration of a new life within a family, a thank-you for a small person given by God to be loved, nurtured and enjoyed. The minister taking the service will bless the child and pray for the family, but the parents are not required to make any promises.
Thanksgiving or Baptism ?
If you choose to have a Thanksgiving, you may also have a Baptism service for your child at a later date. In fact, for families who are new to the church, and are considering Baptism for their child, the Thanksgiving Service can also serve as an opportunity to introduce them and their child formally to the rest of the church, and to invite the congregation to pray for them as they consider Baptism.
When can the service be held ?
We usually include a thanksgiving within our 10:00am service on the second Sunday of the month. It will normally take place towards the beginning of the service.
What does it cost ?
How do I arrange it and how can I find out more ?
Speak to one of the ministers at one of the Sunday services, or call or contact the Rector via the Contact Us Menu.