Clarence Park Baptist Church is a family church open to people of all ages and walks of life. As a Church we believe it is important to help children and adults alike to grow in faith, both growing in the discovery of faith, and in the experience of faith.
The arrival of a child is one of the most significant experiences in life, both for parents and children! It’s the first step in life for your child, so it’s great to take that step with the blessing of God. It’s also a time of growth and challenge for parents. So we offer a special service of welcome, during morning worship, for the birth of a child. We sometimes call these services:
Infant presentation and thanksgiving services.
Infant dedication services.
Or Dedication services.
The basis for these services of welcome we take from the Bible, where the gospels tell us Jesus welcomed little children, placed his hands on them and blessed them:
People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this he was indignant. He said to them,
“let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth; anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms put his hands on them and blessed them. Mark 10:13-16
So the high point of a dedication service is where we pray in Jesus’ name for God’s blessing on your child. We also pray for parents, as together we commit ourselves to provide the context in home and church, for your child to be given the best opportunity to grow towards faith in Jesus.
In the service, we also take time to give thanks to God for the birth of the child; we make promises – both parents, family members and the congregation; we name the child; and we present him or her to the Church.
What about older children?
Most commonly, the children brought to dedications are under a year old, but sometimes, parents of older children seek a dedication service for their children. This is particularly common where they have started coming to church some time after the birth of their children. Sometimes the children involved are as old as 6 or 8. In such cases where the child is old enough to appreciate something of what’s going on, it’s a good idea for us to talk it through with them, so they can enter the experience positively.
What about baptism?
The dedication service is of course a little different from those in other churches called ‘christenings’ or ‘infant baptisms’. This is because we are a Baptist Church, and believe that baptism should be as we find it in the Bible, that is, as an expression of faith. This difference means that we do not claim that our dedication service makes a person a Christian or makes them a committed Church Member.
Instead we believe individuals become Christian through the grace of God as they respond in faith to God, accepting Jesus as the Lord and Saviour of their lives. Baptism and church membership follow this commitment faith.
If you want to know more about what believers’ baptism means, and about services of believers’ baptism at Clarence Park Baptist Church, please take the similar leaflet on that theme, or else speak with our minister: Rev Steve Christian or a member of our leadership team.
What if there is only one parent?
Some families are single-parent families. You are of course just as welcome to present your child to God, and to seek his blessing on your child.
In other situations only one parent wants to be involved. For example one parent has started going to church, but the other parent is not interested either in services generally or in their child’s dedication. While it is better if the whole family is involved, you are welcome to bring your child even if your partner doesn’t want to come.
What do we need to do?
When you’ve had a chance to think it through, and you’ve decided that you would like to have a dedication service, please contact the Minister: Rev Steve Christian via our contact page.