Monday, October 23, 2006

Naming Un-ceremony

I didn't blog last night as we were so tired. (I even fell asleep sitting upright at about 5:00!). However, it was a lovely, lovely day.

In the Childrens' Group during the meeting, they made a collage of a picture of children holding hands in a circle with Barnaby and Amelia in the middle. Even Pippa, who is only 18 months old even coloured in some of them. We now have this picture to keep as a reminder of the day.

The special meeting for worship took place at 12:00 and was attended by Barnaby and Amelia, Sheep and I, my mother, Sheep's parents, Jackie and Derek, Sheep's brother and his wife, Michael and Gabrielle, my sister and partner, Claire and Julian and the other two godmothers, Jenni and Caroline as well as about thirty (at a guess) members of the meeting. Those unable to attend were John Peponis (one of Barnaby's godfathers) and John Branch (Amelia's godfather). John did send a loving message below:

"I formally accept a commitment to Barnaby, to offer friendship and sancturay, so that he can turn to me in times of doubt or difficulty with confidence and trust. I look forward to see him grow and prosper in happiness and wish to be a mentor and a friend as he grows and becomes himself through the circunmstances of his life."

I am happy today, for the occasion you are about to celebrate and sorry that I have not been able to be there with Barnaby and you two.

One of the elders of the meeting, D.R., started the meeting with an introduction and did an excellent job of explaining how Quakers do not have a tradition of baptism or christenings but that they recognised the need to support families and children in such a manner. He also read a passage from Advices and Queries (below). He spoke for about five minutes, then after another five minutes, Sheep and I got to our feet (in a manner very reminiscent of our wedding). I had been breastfeeding Amelia who had dozed off with her still latched on, as it happened, and managed to talk with her still attached, which I think many people didn't realize! I spoke about realising as parents how important family, friends and community are and how parents can not raise children in isolation. This led on to introducing the four of the six 'godparents' or 'supporting friends' who were present. Then three of the four of them chose to speak. Michael and Caroline more or less read out the suggestion that I had sent by email. Jenni also added her own additional promises which were, I recall, love, learning and laughter (I hope I've got those right as I am sure she'll correct me if I have not!).

This took until about 12:15, then there was a period of approximately fifteen minutes left during which there were quite a few ministries, including one by Sheep right at the very end, where he spoke about children always remaining children to their parents and vice versa. There was also a reading from Quaker Faith and Practice (below) and a lovely ministry by A.B. talking about a recent experience of her daughter, R. The Clerk, A. also spoke about the pleasure of the meeting in being about to hold such a meeting. All in all, I could not have wished for a more thoughtful set of ministries. Amelia slept all the way through and Barnaby, who was feeling a little tired and perhaps a little overwhelmed, cuddled peacefully on Sheep's lap all the way through.

This was the reading from Advices and Queries:

Rejoice in the presence of children and young people in your meeting and recognise the gifts they bring. Remember that the meeting as a whole shares a responsibility for every child in its care. Seek for them as for yourself a full development of God's gifts and the abundant life Jesus tells us can be ours. How do you share your deepest beliefs with them, while leaving them free to develop as the spirit of God may lead them? Do you invite them to share their insights with you? Are you ready both to learn from them and to accept your responsibilities towards them? Advices and Queries, number 19.

This was the reading from Quaker Faith and Practice:

21.02 When I was about seven years old, I announced that my favourite text was 'Hitherto hath the Lord helped me'. The elders were amused, but I am not so sure that it was funny after all. The distance from one birthday to the next seems infinite to a small child, and 'the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts'. Looking back over many years, I fancy my choice now would be much the same. I am not prepared, here and now, to analyse and define the reasons, but I can only say that this quiet certainty has run all through my life linking up babyhood and youth and middle age with the latest stretch of the road and 'hitherto', though sometimes almost slipping through one's fingers, that golden thread has never wholly escaped my grasp.

Elizabeth Fox Howard, 1943

The meeting ended shortly after 12:30 with a shaking of hands as is usual practice. Then we all went into the nursery/pre-school room for lunch, which Mum and I had bought yesterday, with Amelia. Everyone was very helpful setting everything out, but in particular Mum and Jenni who just set to and did most of the unwrapping and setting out etc. There was also an unfeasibly large amout of chocolate cake provided by everyone! Six I think! Barnaby's lunch consisted of some bread and some cake. After lunch, we arrived back home at 2:00ish and drank some Champagne. After a glass or two, everyone began to disappear, starting with Michael and Gabrielle as she was about to get on a plane to Helsinki!

To our surprise everyone had left by about 4:30 and we all just collapsed with exhaustion. What a wonderful day though. And now Barnaby and Amelia have three 'godparents' apeice.

Jenni took some photos of the day, which are currently online as a photocast. I will download some and re-upload them on my blog (assuming she doesn't mind). There are obviously none taken of the meeting for worship or the meeting room as that's not allowed.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention, Jenni bought Amelia a lovely silver charm bracelet as an 'un-christening', 'un-naming' gift. (And a really cool t-shirt too as a non-non gift!). What lovely friends we have.


At 7:02 am, Anonymous Dad said...

Thanx for the long discription of the Un-Naming ceremony for Barnaby and Amelia. It made up in a big way for not being able to be there with y'all.

A big hug for Barnaby and Amelia!


At 10:08 pm, Anonymous Jenni said...

Of course put some photos up!

Yes, lovely day...


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