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There is no denying that the number of christenings performed each year has been steadily in decline for the past few years. Latest figures suggest that it is only 1 in 10 infants are christened, but why is that?
Well it could be because numbers attending church have also been on the decline, and it could also be because families are choosing not to have their babies christened at birth. Which is what happened in my case, and with my children too.
My parents had felt they were forced to go to church and that it had been a negative experience for them (something that has changed in later years and they now attend every Sunday) and therefore they wanted my experience to be different. It was the late 60s and the hippy vibe was strong! They came to the conclusion that being christened was something I should choose for myself and not be their decision. I was 15 when I finally decided the time was right and having been christened one week I was then confirmed the following weekend.
When my children were all born in Saudi Arabia it wasn’t possible for them to be christened and we didn’t want to do it in a rush on a fortnight’s holiday back to the UK. We waited until we had returned for good and could make it a more special occasion, in a church we had an affiliation to. As it happens they were then enrolled in a school with its own chapel and the Headmaster allowed us to have the christening in there one Sunday after the usual weekly service.
It truly was magical and as the church only had room for 50 people we were surrounded by friends and family who thrilled to have been invited. We hand made our cards because invites to christenings weren’t really a thing 20 years ago (or certainly not that we could see anyway). Now though there are some gorgeous ones to chose from, Card Factory, for instance have a whole range including some that can be personalised.
It was also lovely to officially recognise some of those people by asking them to be a godparent. Whilst the role of godparent is clearly a significant religious role it does also mean that those chosen will, hopefully, be a part of the child’s life for years to come.
Which is all kinds of lovely.
Image of Christening gown, courtesy of Shutterstock