What is Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child?
Thanksgiving services are an opportunity to say a heartfelt thank you to God for the wonderful gift of your child. The priest will pray for your child, for any other children you may already have and especially for you as parents, in your responsibility of bringing up this child. You will be given a gospel as a permanent reminder of the Thanksgiving Service. This service can occur at any time and place, by agreement with the clergy. It is not a replacement for Baptism, and a Baptism can still take place later.
Why Thanksgiving rather than Baptism?
Increasing numbers of families choose a Thanksgiving Service, probably for two main reasons:
1. Sometimes parents in all in conscience cannot make the necessary Christian promises in Baptism whilst keeping their personal integrity. Yet they want to come to church to say thank you and to offer prayers. The service of Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child can be arranged which may include supporting friends and a naming ceremony. This service does not require parents to commit to promises but it enables parents to celebrate the new birth and to give thanks.
2. Sometimes parents would prefer their child to experience Baptism when (s)he is older. Parents may still pray with their child, read them Bible stories and tell them about Jesus. But the child will be able to choose for themselves and experience their Baptism as an older child or adult.