In a Thanksgiving service, parents are bringing their children to celebrate the new life that has been given to them. It is the recognition that something wonderful has happened, and an opportunity to thank God for the children in their care.
The service contains some specific prayers and words which ask for God to bless the children and give thanks for the new life that is in them. In addition, the parents are invited to publicly declare their thanks, and close friends to pledge their support for the parents in bringing up the children. Some of these words and prayers are here to help you think about what is said during the service.
Extracts from the Thanksgiving service
The parents are asked:
Do you receive these children as a gift from God?
Do you wish to give thanks to God and seek his blessing?
The children are prayed for:
God our creator,
we thank you for the wonder of new life
and for the mystery of human love.
We thank you for all whose support and skill
surround and sustain the beginning of life.
We thank you that we are known to you by name
and loved by you from all eternity.
We thank you for Jesus Christ,
who has opened to us the way of love.
We praise you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever.
The children are blessed and prayed for with the following words:
As Jesus took children in his arms and blessed them,
so now we ask God’s blessing on N.
Heavenly Father, we praise you for his/her birth;
surround him/her with your blessing
that he/she may know your love,
be protected from evil,
and know your goodness all his/her days.
May they learn to love all that is true,
grow in wisdom and strength
and, in due time, come through faith and baptism
to the fullness of your grace;
through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
There is also the opportunity for close friends and family to act as sponsors for the children. This is the equivalent of a godparent. They are asked:
Will you do all that you can to help and support N and N in the bringing up of N?
With the help of God, we will.
There are other aspects of the service that could be included – do take a look at the Church of England website for the full text of the Thanksgiving service.
A Thanksgiving service would normally be within our usual Sunday morning service. If you are interested in thinking about this more, then please do contact us, and come along to our Baptism Preparation Class. The dates for this class should be found in the Latest News section of our website.
(Extracts from the Thanksgiving service taken from Common Worship, (c) The Archbishop’s Council of the Church of England, 2000-2006)