Christening your child


we are expecting our first in April. I am not sure what I'm after, maybe some more info on how many people actually christen their children I think. I am not religious and my husband is orthodox (but isn't really religious either). Some people have said it's good to have your child christened and some churches would accept us if we are not really religious but I find this a bit odd as it's sort of a commitment isn't it.

We are also not from here so have no idea how schooling system works. I heard from a colleague that some baptised children get priority when applying for schools, I am hoping this is not common? Sorry it's just this is all new to us and back home things work differently.

Just wanted to see I guess on what you did with your children (especially if you are not religious type) as the more I read about christenings I find that we won't be doing it as I would kind of feel a bit hypocritical if neither of us are really church goers. I read there is a naming ceremony that you could organise which is a bit more our sort of thing I think.


  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,018 Forumite
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    If I ask "what kind of orthodox"?

    Because if you didn't mean Jewish, and started with his church, you might be limited by distance: Greek, Russian and other orthodox congregations are scattered around the UK but not always local.

    It's true that some church schools give priority to the adherents of that church, DS1 was at a Catholic school where the priority started with baptised Catholic children of baptised practising Catholic parents and ended somewhat ominously with "the unbaptised" ... when I explained that in our Christian church we did not baptise babies, that was acceptable.

    I agree that you shouldn't opt for this if you don't believe, but if you want to explore this then there's something called the Alpha course you could do. Google Alpha plus your area.

    And yes you can go for a naming ceremony, some churches will offer this.

    If you search for local churches you may find several  which run baby and toddler groups, going to those can be brilliant.
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  • Not Jewish no, he's from Romania.

    OK I'll try to google about a bit to see what's what - I am very out of depth with these types of things!
  • YBR
    YBR Posts: 551 Forumite
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    In the Christian Churches I'm familiar with, parents and Godparents make promises, such as to ensure the children are going to be brought up in a Christian faith. So yes it ought to be a commitment.
    Some people make these promises for their children with no thought of keeping them, perhaps because the rite of passage and/or party afterwards are habitual, or more important, perhaps to increase the chances of getting into a good local school.
    The ministers I know will baptise babies for any family who can accept the promises and words about faith, but some would ask you to attend some kind of preparation, to learn about their faith first.

    I chose a dedication service in church for my daughters, and they can be Baptised by their own choice if the wish, when they are older.  
  • TBagpuss
    TBagpuss Posts: 11,203 Forumite
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    I personally wouldn't do it unless it is important to one or both of you - generally, if you have your child baptized then you are making commitments to bring them up in the faith, if you aren't a believer then why would you want to fo that.

    That said, your husband may feel differently, and people do sometimes change their minds about how important they feel it is, when they actually have a child! 

    It's possible to be baptized as an older child or an adult, so there would be nothing to stop your child getting baptized if, when they are older, they become a believer.

    Some selective schools do give priority to children who are members of the relevant church - mot also look at whether the family are actually active church members rather than basing it solely on whether they are baptized, so if your child were baptized but neither you nor they actually go to church regularly then it may not carry much weight.  

    But it's own relevant if the school you would want to send your child to is a selective school that basis it's selection process in part on religious affiliation and commitment.
    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,018 Forumite
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    TBagpuss said:
    But it's own relevant if the school you would want to send your child to is a selective school that basis it's selection process in part on religious affiliation and commitment.
    Absolutely. And there's a dilemma, because if you wait until you want to make that choice before you do anything, you may be too late.

    (Remembering a conversation with a colleague: she had a pre-school age daughter, my sons were at a well-regarded CofE secondary school. She'd heard it was very good, what did she need to do to get her daughter in? And I said "Start going to church with her, now, every week, and make sure the vicar knows who you are." She was slightly shocked, and unsure she could make that commitment. I agreed with her, and said I couldn't have done it just to get them into the school: I was doing it anyway! But I was aware that the admission requirements had changed the requirement for regular church attendance from two years to four years between DS1 and DS2 starting. Anyone thinking they could leave it a bit was in danger of being scuppered.)
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  • HampshireH
    HampshireH Posts: 4,474 Forumite
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    Non religious and also feel hypocritical when in a church. I love churches for their grandeur and architecture but for the religion? No .

    I repsect those who have faith Hough even if I choose not to follow that faith.

    We didn't have a Christening for ours. Should they choose a region when they are older that is their desicion to make.

    One of us is christened and the other went to a CofE school.

    Ours will probably go to a CofE school as it's catchment and well regarded - would be my preference.  They are expected to be inclusive.
  • RebekahR
    RebekahR Posts: 5,980 Forumite
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    I wouldn't call myself religious per say. However as someone who does put my trust and faith in God it was a must for me to do something. I also chose a dedication service. I personally don't believe in Christenings and again feel that it is up to the child to make the decision when they are older whether they want to believe and then be baptised by choice. No point forcing a baby into something when they might grow up to not believe. Plus having God parents who are supposed to bring the child up in the way of the church if the parent's can't do so. How's that going to happen in practice if the child gets adopted by someone else or something?! Most people I hear that go this route aren't Christians and I don't see the point at all. So it is actually refreshing to see considering your options and feeling hypocrytical. So personally I think you are wise to not do it. The school place issue is for faith schools alone and not all schools. But tbh I don't know how they work so can't really comment on that front.
  • We haven't christened our child as neither of us really believe, we just try to generally be nice people. 
    Our child goes to the catchment school. It's non-religious and is rated outstanding by ofsted. We are both over the moon with it, it's a lovely community school where our child is thriving.  I think where you live is the school catchment is the most important thing. 
  • Spendless
    Spendless Posts: 24,144 Forumite
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    My answer is different to the others. I had both my children Christened whilst not being overly religious or Church going. I attend baptisms, weddings, memorial services, the odd Xmas or special event service. All children on my side of the family have been baptised. That's not the case on my husband's. When my IL's were getting married (mid 1960s) the Vicar refused to marry them unless MIL was baptised. This is even though CofE rules say only one of them needed to be (FIL was)

    I know several people that didn't have their children baptised because 'they could choose it when older.' I only know of one that did when in their mid teens, the others didn't regardless of whether they had been brought up attending church regularly or not. The Vicar who baptised our eldest told us he'd ideally like one of the Godparents to be confirmed, none were but all were baptised which is a requirement for being a Godparent in CofE.  I took the view that I would have mine baptised  and even if they didn't grow up with regular church attendance, they had the connection in place should they ever want to develop that more. 

    At 22 and 18, my eldest is engaged to a girl who grew up with very religious parents. They are marrying next year in a different Christian church and I'm unfamiliar with what they accept or not with regards baptisms of the bride and groom, but if it's a requirement then DS has it and being quite self consious wouldn't have been keen on the idea of going through a baptism as an adult. My younger one moved to a different part of the UK last year for her studies and struggling with friendships at one point did speak to a Church about joining their social group. 

    Though I did have a place at a faith school for eldest, I gave it up  in favour of elsewhere when I discovered that the school had not stuck to their own admissions criteria (my son's place wasn't part of this, but tohers were and I didn't like that they'd done this) so don't think that a 'church school' will be better. The same goes for Outstanding schools. I sent mine to my catchment outstanding oversubscribed school. My youngest has PTSD over the trauma she experienced there. It's coming up 10 years since that school was last Ofsted inspected under a different head and there';s been 2 heads since. Do your research!  
  • sheramber
    sheramber Posts: 19,081 Forumite
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    What religion would your child be Christened in?
    would you travel to Romania to have him. Christened in the Orthodox Church in Romania since that is your husband’s religion ?
    what is your husband’s choice?
    If you are not going to fulfil the promises you will need to make what is the point?
    Your child might prefer a different religion or none when they grow up. 

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