Each week there are more than 2,200 Church of England christenings across the country, attended by an estimated quarter of a million people.
Research for the Archbishops’ Council has shown what makes parents decide to have a christening. 89% said that it was an essential foundation for life, giving their child a good start in life and seeking God’s blessing. Being surrounded by family and friends is also really important – and godparents are the some of most important people involved, with 91% of families saying they are influence on the decision to have their child christened.
Respondents to the survey talked about how it was important to have godparents to lead their children down the right path in life. One said: “A godparent is someone who is actively involved in a child’s life and is there for them. To us choosing a godparent was someone who would be there for our children, who are responsible, sensible and supportive individuals who would want the best for them.”
Canon Dr Sandra Millar, who heads up the work said: “Having a baby baptised at a christening is the start of an amazing journey of faith. Helping children to grow up well is a big task, and knowing that they are surrounded by family, friends, godparents and the local church family to support and pray for them is something many families find special and helpful. Our research showed parents have serious spiritual reasons for wanting a child baptised, and whilst they may not always use church language to express that, the longing for support, blessing and a foundation of faith provide a great place to start a life-long journey of discovery.”
Revd Kate Bottley who is part of the baptisms project for the Church of England said: “I talk to mums and dads about why they’re bringing babies to be baptised and they’re deeply serious about giving their children the best start in life. They’re looking for God’s blessing, they’re looking for protection and they’re looking for the best start in the Christian faith.”
The survey was carried out for the Church of England with 1000 people who were not regular churchgoers and had a child aged two or younger baptised in the Church of England.
For more information on baptism in the Church of England: https://churchofenglandchristenings.org