What is the difference between a Christening and a Baby Naming or Welcome to Family?
A Christening is a Christian religious ceremony in which the parents take Christ as Saviour into the life of the child on behalf of their child, until the child is old enough to confirm that decision at Confirmation.
Godparents at Christenings promise to ensure their god-child receives a Christian education.
In some cases, godparents took on the full responsibility of the child when disease or ill health meant early death of parents.
A 'Welcome to Family' or 'Baby Naming' can be in addition to, or as an alternative to a Christening.
In some cases, parents have both a Christening for immediate family and a Naming for other family and friends.
Naming ceremonies for babies and young children perform all the non-religious welcoming and support functions of a Christening. There is no reason why the ceremony cannot include religious readings or music if the parents wish to.
These ceremonies are increasing in popularity as they include the broader network of the family and friends in the celebration of the new child. Also many parents would prefer their child to have the opportunity of choosing their own religion when older. Therefore, this ceremony would enable the child to be christened later should he or she so choose.
Our more recent 'civil' understanding of godparents' roles comes from the tradional functions of godparents ... that godparents step in in event of death or default of parents, and the guidance given for a moral education.
Today, godparents or guardians are expected to undertake a special and lifelong interest in the child's welfare and to support the parents in raising their child. Many parents still choose to use the term godparents in a civil ceremony, others choose terms such as guardians, mentors, guides, lay parents or supporting adult.
Occasionally Namings are used by adults wishing to change name for important personal reasons.
Contact a CCN celebrant for information and advice about naming ceremonies as an alternative to a Christening.