This is a moment of special prayer and thanksgiving for a child, shared by the parents and the whole church.The picture shows one of our church families at the dedication service for their children. Both they and the church are giving thanks for their children, and praying for God's help as parents, and that their children will find their own faith in Jesus when they grow.
We welcome any parents who want to bring their child to church to say 'thank you' to God, to pray for the child and to ask for God's blessing and help for them as parents in their task of bringing up their family
This is not a baptism. No promises are made on behalf of the child concerning the faith that the child will or will not have. We can express our prayer and hope that the child will grow up to love, follow and serve Jesus Christ, but we also want to recognise that this will be the child's own decision when the child is old enough to understand that for him or herself. Only at that stage will the subject of baptism become a relevant one.
The dedication happens within the context of a morning service in the presence of the congregation and children. It is a happy and joyful time when the church join with the family in their thanksgiving and their prayer. After the dedication a certificate will be presented to the parents and the child's name will be added to the list of those dedicated at Selsdon Baptist Church.
Sometimes the minister will take the child around the church during the singing of a hymn and introduce the child to some of the congregation. This is only done, however, when it is the wish of the parents.
Before a dedication, the Minister likes to meet with both of the parents to talk about the service and plan it appropriately. Parents are invited to share in the planning of the whole service, by suggesting hymns and songs that might be sung, and offering any other ideas that can be incorporated into the service, or people who might want to share in some way.
God-parents are not part of a Dedication, as the traditional role of 'God-parents' is to make Christian promises on behalf of the child.
However, we realise that many couples like the idea of others who stand with them, who take an interest in the child and maybe even take on legal custody in the case of bereavement. To help those who want to be involved in this way, we are happy to name in the service Special Friends who have taken a special interest in the child. These special friends may be asked to stand, but will not be asked to make any promises.
The actual form of dedication is variable and can be worked out with each couple individually. There is a set form involving words that parents, minister and church say alternately. Otherwise the form can involve questions put to the parents by the minister. The whole will usually involve at least three elements:
The service is also seen as a welcome for the child into the family of the church, and the child's full name is used as a recognition that the child is special, precious and God's unique creation.
Sometimes the parents who think about dedication do not both have the same level of faith. Sometimes one may be a Christian and not the other. This does not prevent a family bringing a child for a Dedication, provided both parents are willing to work out, with the minister, a suitable form of wording which they can agree to with honesty and integrity. It would not be our wish to make a person use a form of words with which they are uncomfortable.
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If you want any more information or want to discuss this more fully, please do not hesitate to contact us.