Nursery Rhyme Christening

Inspired by Simon Rundell’s Nursery Rhyme Mass, I’ve had a crack at writing some Nursery Rhyme texts for a baptism. They’re copied below – feel free to use them in churches and share them with others, but please do credit me.

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To the tune of “London Bridge Is Falling Down”

The oil goes on Sophie’s head, Sophie’s head, Sophie’s head,

The oil goes on Sophie’s head, for a blessing.

The water goes on Sophie’s head, Sophie’s head, Sophie’s head,

The water goes on Sophie’s head, now she’s christened!

The candle goes to Sophie’s home, Sophie’s home, Sophie’s home,

The candle goes to Sophie’s home, God is with her!

 

(Some fudging of the rhythm may be needed, depending on the child’s name – you can always just use “the baby” or “the child” instead of the name.)

 

To the tune of “Baa Baa, Black Sheep”

This can go right after the baptism itself

Welcome, welcome, to our family!

God has chosen you and me.

Washed in the water, together on the way,

We welcome the little one who’s joined us today.

 

To the tune of “Wind the Bobbin Up”

This can be used at the blessing over the water. A gesture can be given for “thank you,” so children can participate in actions throughout the song.

Pour the water in, pour the water in, splash! Splash! Clap clap clap!

Pour the water in, pour the water in, splash! Splash! Clap clap clap!

Thank you to Jesus, God up above!

Thank you for water, thank you for love!

We have come together, now we pray,

God, make this water special today!

Getting Started slides from 15th March

pray-and-play8When I run training sessions, I often refer people to this blog to get the slides I used – these are for the “Getting Started in Children’s Ministry” training held on 15th March 2017 at St Andrew’s in Biggleswade. Click on the link at the bottom to download.

Topics include:

Opportunities for mission and ministry

Creating a culture of welcome

A video clip from Rev on how NOT to manage change

Answers from lots of clergy and children’s workers on “what do you do when people complain about children making noise in the service?”

Baptism/Christenings

A resource list

Children’s corners (Pray and Play areas)

Getting Started

 

Baptism Matters

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Last Thursday, we had a brilliant day’s training on Baptisms with Sandra Millar, Head of Projects and Development for the Archbishops’ Council.

You can follow the day by looking at the #BaptismMatters tweets, but here, off the top of my head, are the Top Ten Things I Remember:

  1. The public calls it a christening, not a baptism. The word “christening” is searched for on Google 12 times as often as “baptism.” When someone rings the church and asks for a christening, they shouldn’t get the reply, “actually, we call it a baptism.” The first word should be “congratulations!” When a couple calls to ask for a wedding, we don’t say, “actually, it’s a marriage service.” We explain that during the wedding, the couple will be married – same for babies. During a christening, the child will be baptised.
  2. In the service itself, symbols matter much more than words. Candle, the oil on the baby’s forehead, the water – these are what parents remember as meaningful. We don’t need to intellectually understand music to find it moving, and the same is true of liturgy. Understanding can come later.
  3. Parents want us to do the God talk. We shouldn’t be ashamed of it.
  4. Parents want to hear language of a journey – a christening is a step on a journey. They’re thinking about the big questions, and we can walk with them.
  5. Godparents really matter. Over 90% of parents said that a big reason for choosing a christening was so their child would have godparents. How can we support and celebrate the godparent/godchild relationship during preparation, the service itself, and afterwards?
  6. Feeling warmly welcomed and celebrated on the day of the service matters to parents.
  7. Guests matter. These people are the child’s community. They are special to the family. They probably have very little experience of church – how can we include them in the service and make them feel welcomed and valued?
  8. The Church of England Christenings website has information for parents, godparents, and guests, as well as the chance to light a virtual candle (and share on social media that you’ve done so) and a church-facing side for clergy and other church workers.  There’s also a Faith at Home newsletter that parents can sign up for.
  9. There are also lots of resources on the Church Print Hub, including prayer magnets for godparents, prayer bookmarks for guests, and resources for Godparents’ Sunday. Many can be personalised with the contact information and logo of your own church.
  10. Follow-up matters. Many parents want the church to invite them to things. Get contact information and permission from christening families and send them invitations whenever you have something coming up that’s appropriate for young children. Don’t take them off your list unless they ask to be removed!

Ministry With Under-5s Day: further resources

Last Saturday, we had a wonderful day on Ministry With Under-5s.  As part of it, I did a whistle-stop tour through the idea of Pray and Play corners – my slides are below, if anyone would like to share the presentation or be reminded of what was covered.

Some other takeaways from the day include:

Ellie Wilson did our keynote address. While she has unfortunately left her post in the Diocese of Leeds, her legacy includes support of “1277: Make Them Count” and also the Toddler Group Research Project, which will be published soon – check back here for more!

Vicki Howie, who did a wonderful workshop on Storytelling with under-5s, recently did a Childrenswork article on a similar topic, which you can find here.

30844981952_3df1f5dc22_kJenny Paddison introduced us to Starting Rite, which is a 5-week programme of spiritual nurture for carers and babies together, based on the type of course run by Sure Start centres. You can learn more here.

Carolynn Pritchard led a workshop on liturgical worship with children – many of her ideas can be found on the Spiritual Child Network page. (There’s also a Facebook group of 700+ members, which I’ve found invaluable on many occasions, for ideas and inspiration.)

Victoria Beech and Becky May did a workshop on music and multi-sensory worship – they both do wonderful Faith at Home work as well. Victoria runs GodVenture, and Becky and her husband Adam are the Treasure Box People.

Any other resources you have for Under-5s are more than welcome – please do leave a comment.

PDF of Pray and Play Corners presentation: pray-and-play-corners

Christenings!

Christenings are REALLY important. Every year, hundreds of children are christened in our Diocese, many of whose parents don’t come regularly to church. It’s a wonderful opportunity to celebrate with new parents and get to know them, hopefully bringing them into our community and walking with them and their child on the journey of faith.

And there are so many ways to make the service memorable, to make it a really special celebration of this child’s relationship with God, their share in new life with Jesus, and their place as one of the communion of saints.

On our Lay Leaders of Worship course in May, I met the lovely Dawn Abbatt, who has done some really brilliant stuff with her kids’ christenings.  I’ll let her tell it in her own words:15A3ABA5-A703-4617-9C8C-F9B4E5899D61

I have been to so many [christening services] where the baptism is almost an annoying add on to a service, and an important opportunity for celebration and outreach is overlooked.

I have three children.  For Tabitha, her baptism was one of three children being done in one service, the vicar kept getting the children’s names wrong!

For Jasper’s 3 years ago, I was in a new church with vicar (Roni) who is also my friend, I was able to discuss how I wanted his baptism to be a real celebration and also to help my friends who aren’t familiar with church to feel comfortable and introduce them to how church can be. What real Christians do. I felt it was part of my job as a Christian to help show others.

We showed part of the Lion King movie- the beginning where all the animals come to celebrate the birth of the baby lion- and that’s how baptism should be, a shared excitement that we are adding one more to our number.

The pictures here are from Hetty’s baptism earlier this year; we asked everyone to come wearing a crown. This was fantastic as we had people crafting, I encouraged competition between my friends on Facebook, some got to wear wedding tiaras again, some wore flower crowns some feathers, some home made, some bought.23A92705-23D0-4F52-992B-18CE138EF117

Everyone was welcomed, children could be around and were included, people were encouraged to join in putting the oil on Hetty’s head and then the children were splashing everyone with water from the sprigs of yews.2ED1A7B9-0DE5-43F0-BDFF-FE2C10492FB4

All the children were helping to ring the bell beforehand. We had vicar selfies, and the meaning of the crowns was explained during a brief talk by Roni. Hetty’s feet were dipped in too as she wanted to climb in the font.0D5A231E-8BD2-4F27-BF3D-ABA7CEEC68FB

As you can probably tell I am a little pleased with how the day went and lots of my friends have been encouraged as a result. They have felt comfortable in church and they did not burst into flames or get judged or have to keep their children still.63460FE1-B37F-4791-8BE8-C82812E23481