Have you just had a baby and want to celebrate his/her safe arrival with family and friends?
There are some options.
The Registry Office now offers civil Welcome ceremonies. These can happen at the Registry Office or at a registered building. These services are entirely civil and therefore make no mention of God.
At St Mary's we offer two types of service both include God but are quite different in their emphasis.
The first is a Baptism Service.
This is about the child becoming a member of the Christian Church and the words of the service are focused on this. The parents and godparents stand and make a number of promises including bringing the child up in the Christian faith and attending a service of worship regularly. They also on behalf of the child make a confession of faith. All godparents must be baptised. Parents and godparents attend a preparation evening at the church along with other baptism families and a few weeks before the baptism the parents bring the child to a Sunday service to be presented to the congregation. The Baptism Service is set out according to the rites of the Church of England.
The second type of service
We call a Welcome and Thanksgiving Service. Welcome to the family and to a beautiful world, a thanksgiving for the safe arrival and the naming and blessing of the child. This service can also be used as a celebration of adoption, or to welcome step-children into an extended family unit. Children of any age may have a Welcome and Thanksgiving Service and you may wish to include older children as well as your new child. A shorter form of this service can also take place at the end of a wedding in church where a new family has been made. No promises or confession of faith are expected or made but prayers and a bible reading are included. There is no preparation or expectation of attending services. A member of clergy contacts the family regarding the practical details. There are opportunities for the parents to include particular readings, prayers or music in the service.
Both services can include godparents/sponsors and take place at 11:45 am on set Sundays in the month. We usually have two families at each service
Unlike the registry office where the cost of a child's Welcome ceremony in a registered building on a Sunday is £220, there is no cost for either of the services in church but we really appreciate a donation that you can afford towards the upkeep of our beautiful church.