This service of thanksgiving may be appropriate after the birth or adoption of a child. It is NOT a baptism ceremony and, indeed, a child for whom this service is held may later be baptised. The parent (or one of the parents) of the child holds the child throughout this service. Because it is not a baptism ceremony, none of this service takes place at the baptismal font and there is no provision for the gift of a candle (as there is in the baptism ceremony). If this service is conducted within the normal worship of the congregation, appropriate hymns or songs may be sung before the Presentation and Welcome and after the Concluding Prayer.
The child for whom thanksgiving is to be offered, his/her parent(s) and any other members of the family are introduced by an Elder of the Congregation.
The Elder then says:
Friends, I present to you NNN and NNN who have come to give thanks for their child, NNN, and are asking the blessing of God for NNN.
If appropriate, the elder may also say:
I also present NNN and NNN who are glad to be welcoming a new sister/brother into their family.
The elder then says:
With them, we give our thanks to God.
Jesus said, “Let the children come to me; do not try to stop them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you: whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”
And he put his arms around them, laid his hands on them, and blessed them. (St Mark 10: 14–16)
The minister then says:
All life is from God, and children are a gift from the Lord. Within a family the birth/adoption of a child is a joyous and solemn occasion. In this event we see the wonder of God’s loving creativity among us.
We are now to share the joy of this family whose life has been enriched by the gift of NNN.
The minister and people then share in the reading of this Psalm with the people saying the words in bold type:
God, be gracious to us and bless us and make your face to shine upon us;
That you way may be known upon earth, your saving power among all nations.
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy;
For you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth.
Let the people praise you, O God;
Let all the peoples praise you.
The earth has yielded is increase; God, our God, has blessed us.
O God, extend your blessing upon us; may the whole world worship you.(Psalm 67)
The following or free prayer is offered:
Let us pray. O God, like a mother who comforts her children, you sustain, nurture and strengthen us; like a father who cares for his children, you look upon us with compassion and goodness.
We give you thanks for the birth (adoption) of NNN, and for the joy that has come to this family. Confirm their joy by a lively sense of your presence with them. Give them calm strength and patient wisdom as they seek to bring this child to love all that is true and noble, just and pure, lovable and gracious, excellent and admirable, following the example of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
The minister may touch the child’s head, hands and feet, as indicated
May God grant you grace to grow in wisdom and understanding (touch head), to work with Christ for justice in the world (touch hands) and to work with the Spirit in the ways of peace (touch feet); and the blessing of the Holy One, the Fatherm the Son and the Holy Spirit, be upon you this day and for evermore.
The minister says to the parents:
Do you receive NNN as a gift from God?
One or both parents say either this:
We thankfully receive NNN as a gift from God. With humility and hope we dedicate ourselves to love and care for her/him, and set before her/him the Christian faith by teaching and example. In this we ask for the power of the Holy Spirit and the prayers of the Church.
We thankfully receive NNN as a gift from God. With humility and hope we dedicate ourselves to love and care for her/him.
The minister says to the people:
The Church is the family of Christ, the community in which we grow in faith and commitment.
The people say:
We rejoice in God’s blessing of NNN. We seek God’s grace to be a community in which the gospel is truly proclaimed to all. We will support you and your child, and pray that through our love she/he may come to know God’s love.
A gift from the congregation may be given.
Gracious God, you entrusted your Son Jesus to the protection and care of Mary and Joseph, their families and community. You have now entrusted this child NNN to her/his family. Strengthen NNN and NNN by your Holy Spirit and help this congregation to be a caring community in Christ.
May NNN be brought by grace to the sacrament of baptism and come, with all your people, to the fulness of your kingdom of love and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.