Friday, July 14, 2006

Preparation for the Naming Ceremony

This is what I have been writing tonight in preparation for our meeting with the committee on Sunday. It is still work in progress.


Is the main function naming or welcoming or both?
Is it to make a parental or godparental commitment or both?
Is it to give thanks for the gift of our children?

Possible terms:

Godparents, Lay-parents, Special Friends, Mentors, Sponsors, Supporting Adults, Guardians, Friend-parents, Guides, Advisors, Supporters, Alternative Parents

Anglican - godparents
Druid - godfather/goddess mother
Humanist - supporting adults
Methodist - sponsors
Pagan - guardians
Roman Catholic - godparents or Christian witnesses (if not RC)
Unitarian - godparents

Do we choose which term we prefer or let each godparent choose the term that they feel most reflects their perceived role?

What is the promise/commitment of the godparents?

Anglican - faith commitments only.
Druid - act of welcoming.
Humanist - to be supportive friends to the parents/to be interested in the child’s development/to offer friendship and sanctuary.
Methodist - faith commitments only.
Unitarian - to nurture the child’s fullest potential.

What is the promise/commitment of the parents?

Anglican - to be trustworthy, patient, understanding and steadfast in our love.
Druid - safekeeping.
Humanist - to clothe, feed and shelter the child/to love and cherish their uniqueness/to help them learn self-discipline, self reliance and to reach their potential.
Methodist - to provide a (Christian) home of love and faithfulness.
Unitarian - to nurture the child’s fullest potential.

In the book, “A Practical Guide to Alternative Baptism and Baby-Naming” by Kate Gordon, we particularly liked the Humanist list of commitments, pages 37-40. However, I do feel that they are lengthy. What we liked about the Quaker wedding MfW was that the promises made to each other were distilled into the quintessential promises necessary for marriage, namely to be loving and faithful. What should the equivalent promises of parents/godparents be?

What is the promise/commitment of the meeting?

What form of the Meeting for Worship take?

How can we/should we strike a balance between spontaneous and structured?

We imagine it being rather like a Quaker wedding, where, in the place of the promises made by the Friends to each other, the godparents (and possibly parents) make their promises to Barnaby and Amelia. This could be followed by sufficient time for other ministries/contributions from the rest of the meeting. It might even be good to record the promises made on a Quaker-marriage-like certificate, which could then be signed by the godparents and witnessed by those present. Barnaby and Amelia would be able to have these to keep when they became older.


At 4:04 pm, Anonymous Jenni said...

Cor blimey -- lots of thought on this one!
* There is one term in the list that I really really dislike - I do not wish to be a 'special friend'!! The others are ok and I find the idea of being a 'goddess mother' amusing but really I can live with most of them.
* I went to a Quaker wedding this weekend (more on my blog later) and the simplicity of the vows was, once again, lovely. I would definitely welcome some simple version of a pledge to love and support (in personal growth or in other ways) the child in the ceremony.


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