Godparents are really significant to families. Read more about why they’re so important and how churches can involve godparents along the baptism-planning journey. Plus, view tips on how to help them understand more about their role.
A christening gives parents the opportunity to formally involve other significant adults in their child’s upbringing, for advice, protection, support and encouragement, and they will give a lot of thought to choosing good people.
How parents choose godparents
The choice of godparents often honours long friendships, and in choosing them, parents are envisaging a relationship that will last at least 20 years, probably a lifetime.
In the research, the biggest reason (by a small margin) that parents gave for wanting their child to be christened was to ensure he or she had godparents. So it is almost impossible to overstate the importance of godparents to families and this needs acknowledging and applauding.
Parents also come wanting their child to have the best start in life and God’s blessing on them. This can lead into conversations about how parents and godparents can ‘be a blessing’ in their child’s life.
Inviting godparents to baptism preparation, to church and to meetings where appropriate will help parents see how much the church values godparents and their role.
IT tip: if godparents live some distance away, Skype could be used to include them in preparation discussions, if the parents would like that.
With social networking and ever more sophisticated technology, keeping in touch has never been easier. Taking godparents’ details, as well as the parents’, shows them how highly they are regarded in the life and faith of the church.
Godparents are so important they have their own section on the website, outlining the role of a godparent, the promises they make during the service and ideas for keeping that commitment in the years to come. Point parents to this section on the website so they can share it with the godparents.
Because the relationship with the godparents is so important, a special card for parents to send to them has been produced; both sides of the card are pictured left. It says ‘thank you’ and helps godparents know they are valued – it also helps the parents know we take godparents seriously.
The card is a keepsake, includes all the main responsibilities of a godparent and a simple prayer. So it has a practical purpose too. The prayer is printed on a fridge magnet, giving the godparent a daily reminder to think of their godchild and pray for them.
There are more prayers on www.churchofenglandchristenings.org which can be used before and after a christening.
Since 2016, the Church of England has also set aside a national day in the year to celebrate and support the godparent/godchild relationship. It is called Godparents’ Sunday and takes place on the first Sunday of July, though you can have it on any convenient date for your church. There are free resources to help you join in, as well as specially produced colour resources you can order from the Church Print Hub. Read all about how to join in here.