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There are various religious and non-religious ceremonies for christening and naming your child.







Baptism is the way in which the church receives people into the family of God to live life in a new way and with new meaning. At the time of baptism, the person is formally received as a member of the church, If we are bringing children to be baptized we make a commitment to bring them up to understand God's purpose for the world and to encourage them to participate in bringing about this purpose. Baptism is an entry rite into the Christian Church. A christening ceremony involves the baptism of a child/children of believers. This is practiced by many denominations of Christianity (catholic church, Anglicans, Orthodox, Methodists etc.)

What happens at a christening?

The service of baptism includes the reading of scripture and preaching of a sermon, the presentation of the candidates, and the affirmation of beliefs by the candidates, or in the case of children, those who represent them. In the Anglican Church water is poured over the child's head three times for baptism with the words, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit". The sign of the cross is then traced with water on the candidate's forehead to show that baptism brings the gift of the Holy Spirit. The candidates are given a candle to represent the light of Christ and are received into the church community. Normally the service continues with the celebration of Holy Communion. The ceremony varies between denominations by the pouring or sprinkling or total immersion in the baptistery.

The infant is regenerated and benefits from the baptism by

  • The guilt of original sin being removed (all human beings are born with original sin)
  • Gaining admission into the church
  • Their standing before God is changed from one under condemnation to a child of god

The child usually have chosen godparents who gives help, support and advice in their raising.


A Dedication is similar to a naming ceremony in that it is a religious thanksgiving service for the gift of a child. This is a public opportunity for parents to dedicate their child to the Lord, promising before the congregation to bring up their child in the Christian faith. It is also the time for the church family to pledge their support of the parents in prayer and encouragement as they bring the child to church and raise him or her to know, love, and serve the Lord.

How is child dedication different from infant baptism?

Child dedication makes no claim of salvation for the child, nor does it symbolize entrance into the church body. Churches who baptize infants usually have one or the other belief. In dedicating their child to the Lord, parents are stating that they are willing to provide that kind of home for their child. Accomplishing this is a challenge that will take great spiritual exertion. Providing the home our children need will demand:

*participation of ourselves in the things of God;

*preparation of ourselves to live godly lives,

*planning of how to educate our children regarding the things of God.

What happens in a child dedication at church?

You will be asked to pledge to bring up your child in the Christian faith, to be an example, and bring your child to church. The congregation will pledge to support you and your child through prayer, encouragement, and service in the church. The pastor will then hold and pray for each child. During special music, the elders will carry the children around the sanctuary for all to see. You will then receive your child’s Dedication Certificate and be seated following the pastor’s concluding prayer.


A naming ceremony is a very special way of welcoming and celebrating the birth of a child or a new arrival into the family and community. It is a perfect way to bond a family unit. It is also an opportunity to declare before family and friends, your promises to be a good a parent as you can; and for adult friends or relatives to confirm their special relationship with your child.

The ceremony is not only for children but can be for adults. It can take place at home, in a hall or at a civic ceremony.

A naming ceremony is a unique way for everyone to feel involved as they pledge their love and support for your child's future development.

What happens at a naming ceremony

A naming ceremony contains:

  • An introduction and welcome for the child to the family
  • A reading
  • Any other relevant reading/poem
  • The naming of the child and the reason for the name
  • Parents promises
  • Promises of support by adults/relatives/grandparents
  • Hopes for the child future
  • Signing of promises/certificate
  • Closing words
  • Presentation of a gift for the child
  • Further reading/poem

Any parent can arrange a ceremony and they do not have to be married and can come from any cultural background, with any spiritual or religious beliefs or with none.



'Consider the state of your life before you name a child' proverb Yoruba of Nigeria

Choosing a child's name is a very important matter in all African cultures. This ceremony marks the infant's rites of passage. In many parts of Africa it is believed that the name parents give an infant can determine the child's success in life. They value highly family and family history - thus African naming is a family affair. The ritual contains 3 components:

  1. They are a spiritual package reconnecting the living with their ancestors. A newborn baby may be named for a family trait - the practice reconnects the clan with its past.
  2. They are a social commentary about who you are and what your family is about.
  3. They reflect the hopes and aspirations of the family. Names given to offsprings tends to reflect a desire for them.

'For it's through our names that we first place ourselves in the world. Our names, being the gift of others, must be made our own. They must become our mask and our shields and the containers of all those values and traditions which we learn and/or image as being the meaning of our familiar past.'

Ralph Ellison

We would like to know your views on baptisms. Over the next few days we are going to post our views and invite you to comment.

Please post your comments about any of the above ceremonies to ceremonies@blessthechild.co.uk.



















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