Becoming a Godparent

Becoming a godparent

Congratulations on being asked to be a godparent: they are very important people! We know that your friends or relations will have thought hard about this. They have chosen you to be a special person in their child's life, someone who will offer encouragement, prayer and support for the child, and help them discover more about the Christian faith as they grow up.

What does being a godparent involve?

As a godparent you have a special role. It's about helping a child to come to know God, encouraging them in their spiritual life and supporting them in their membership of the local church.

You need to be at the Christening where you will make promises to help bring them up in the Christian faith. It's a role that will grow over time, as your godchild grows up and develops their own faith.

Is it a big responsibility?

It is. Have a look at the questions you will answer in the Baptism Service. Take some time to think through the commitments that you make when you answer them. But don't forget that the church can support you in encouraging and praying for your godchild.

Do I have to be a regular churchgoer?

Being asked to be a godparent is a good opportunity to think about your own faith.

Godparents must have been baptised themselves, and it's best if you are also confirmed. Baptism or Confirmation preparation can help you with your own questions about the Christian faith. It will also help you support your godchild in their own faith. If you have any questions at all, why not speak to your local vicar or other Christian that you know.

Does being a godparent mean I'm a legal guardian as well?

No. Your role as godparent is a spiritual one - to encourage and pray for your godchild. Being a legal guardian is separate from being a godparent.

What should I give as a christening present?

The most important gift you can give your godchild is your time, your interest and your prayers. You may want to mark the Baptism by giving a special gift.

Godparents don't have to buy expensive gifts. A simple meaningful present is a good choice - maybe something to be used at the baptism, or a gift to be kept for later.

Ideas include:

A Bible: there are many different editions of the Bible. Some have pictures and simple words which are specially suitable for children with. Some come in presentation boxes. You might choose one to look at straight away and then choose an adult edition as a confirmation present.

Bible story books - there are lovely illustrated books of Bible stories for children, some with prayers included. Why not build up a collection over a few years?

Books of prayers - there are many which are specially for children

A silver or gold cross or chain - to be worn in the future

A small wooden cross

Drawings, paintings or posters of Christian stories

An icon or picture

What happens in the service?

Christening usually takes place during a normal Sunday morning service or at a separate time, usually Sunday afternoon.

All of you will be made welcome, and the regular congregation will make promises to support and pray for the child, parents and godparents.

At the Baptism itself, the priest will ask the parents and godparents to bring the child to the front of the church or to gather round the font.

Before the baby is baptized, the priest will ask you to declare that you intend to do your best as a godparent. The priest asks you to say that you are 'prepared to walk with the child in the way of Christ' and will help them take their place in the church.

The priest will make sure it all goes smoothly and that everyone knows what to do and when to do it. Ask it there will be a rehearsal or other preparation you could get involved with.

How will I remember what happened?

We will give you a special card to remind you of your godchild's Baptism and the promises you have made. Keep it somewhere you will see it every day, so you remember your godchild and ask God to bless them each day. Remember to keep in touch, take time to visit your godchild, to get to know them, have fun and to pray.

What do I do next?

Both you and your godchild will get more out of your relationship if you keep it alive.

Children love to get letters, postcards, emails, text messages. Why not send a small gift on the anniversary of the baptism to show you care about this special relationship? Keep in touch, and as they grow older they may be able to ask you their questions about life and faith... and that's really special.

What is Confirmation?

Hopefully, later on your godchild will want to make his or her own declaration of faith at a confirmation service. At a Confirmation service your godchild confirms the promises you made for them at Baptism. It's a very special time for both of you.

How do I pray for me and my godchild?

Take a few moments to remember your godchild. You might like to light a candle or look at a photograph. Here are two prayers which you might find helpful:

Lord God, I pray that you will guide and help me in being a godparent.

Give me your wisdom and your love.

Help me to be a good example of Christian living

And help me remember my precious godchild [name].

Amen.

 

Heavenly father,

Thank you for the precious gift of [name]

And for all the joy that she/he brings us.

Be with her/him on her journey through life

So she/he may come to know our Lord Jesus Christ

As Saviour and Friend.

Amen.

 

Questions for Parents and Godparents

In the service, before the child is baptised, the priest asks the whole congregation and then the Parents and Godparents the following questions;

Faith is the gift of God to his people.

In baptism the Lord is adding to our number those whom he is calling.

People of God, will you welcome these children/candidates

and uphold them in their new life in Christ?

With the help of God, we will.

 

The Priest then says to the parents and godparents

Parents and godparents, the Church receives these children with joy.

Today we are trusting God for their growth in faith.

Will you pray for them,

draw them by your example into the community of faith

and walk with them in the way of Christ?

With the help of God, we will.

 

 

In baptism these children begin their journey in faith.

You speak for them today.

Will you care for them,

and help them to take their place within the life and worship of Christ’s Church?

With the help of God, we will.

 

In baptism, God calls us out of darkness into his marvellous light.

To follow Christ means dying to sin and rising to new life with him.

Therefore I ask:

Do you reject the devil and all rebellion against God?

I reject them.

Do you renounce the deceit and corruption of evil?

I renounce them.

 

Do you repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbour?

I repent of them.

 

Do you turn to Christ as Saviour?

I turn to Christ.

 

Do you submit to Christ as Lord?

I submit to Christ.

 

Do you come to Christ, the way, the truth and the life?

I come to Christ.

 

These questions and responses are a public statement of what parents, godparents and the whole congregation believe and are committed to support in the life of the child being baptised. If there are any things you’d like to talk about please get in touch with Rev’d Jeff James, the parish priest. 

 

 

Text adapted from Church of England Website and incorporating materials from the Common Worship Baptism Service.