I collect (with permission*) parents’ and godparents’ email addresses when I book a christening. I then send godparents an email before the christening, congratulating them and sending a copy of the service sheet and a link to the C of E christenings website. I have had really positive feedback from a number of godparents following this – it makes them feel special, as well as enabling them to ask me any questions they have directly . As many of them live at some distance it is often difficult for them to come to the preparation session I have with the parents, but this includes them and encourages them to think about the promises they are making.
I then add them, along with the parents, to a distribution list, which I use to send email reminders before Messy Church sessions or other events and services which might appeal to families – a godparent might like to bring a child to Messy Church to help build their relationship with them.
I also send emails to this list from time to time with simple ideas for praying with children and fostering their spiritual growth. For example, in Advent my email suggested making or buying a crib set to use at home, and using and Advent calendar with the Christmas story in it. The Easter email suggested ways of making an Easter garden at home.
There has been some specific feedback on these emails, but one of the valuable effects has been that I find that families who don’t start coming to church regularly straight after the christening still seem to feel “in touch” and part of the family, so that it is much easier for them to pick up the connection later.
* It’s important to tell your contacts how you intend to use their email address and how to opt out of receiving emails if they want to. A simple note at the end of each email correspondence can cover this. And when sending an email, be sure to put all email addresses in the BCC field, so they’re not visible to all recipients.