On August 18th, 2011, Becky and I levelled up.
At some time after 11pm, with only a few minutes to go before the end of the day, my son William Robert Kelly was born, on his due date, and we became parents.
6 months later, we are still parents, and, despite the sleepless nights (more for Becky than me I’m sad to say), I’m grateful for it every day.
On Sunday 19th February, we were joined by family and friends at our church for a service of dedication for William, but why a dedication service, rather than a Christening or baptism?
In a lot of churches, children are baptised. In our church, while we do practice baptism in water, we reserve it for later in life, when people can decide for themselves whether to be baptised. Instead, we dedicate infants, formally welcoming them into the church family, and, as parents, we promise to bring them up in a Christian household. If there are Godparents present, and in our case, praise God, there were, they promise to be a support to the new family. The church too, as part of the service, pledges support to the child and parents.
The parents are then presented with a certificate, which includes a specially selected Bible verse for the child; William’s verse is Romans 15 v. 13.
For some traditionalists in the wider church, this non-baptismal service can seem odd, especially as so many non-church goers will request a baptism or Christening from their local church. For us, it’s part of our church life, and our way of demonstrating our thanks to God for providing us with a child, and to welcome him into the start of his Christian life. We can save baptism for a later date, and celebrate with William then too!
It’ll be up to William, when he’s older, to make the decision as to whether he wants to be baptised or not, and I pray that, as parents, Godparents and church family, we’ll be there to guide him in the right direction and help him know the same loving God that we do.