One of the joys of Parish ministry is receiving children for Baptism. At St John’s we have an open policy which means that we don’t require parents to be worshippers before we Baptise their children, God doesn’t set pre-conditions for loving us, so neither does St John’s.
But how should families go about choosing Godparents, the people who will speak on behalf of their children? Sometimes this becomes the subject of tense negotiations in families - ”She had us for theirs, so we ought to have her for ours” and so on. That’s why we sometimes get asked if there can be 10 or more Godparents.
Here are some tips for making that choice.
* You are looking for people who will pray for your child. They don’t have to do that in a church; they can be on the bus or in the bath. But once a week they will offer your child’s name to God, and commit them to God’s care.
* You are looking for someone who will be a role model for your child (these tips get scarier as they go on). Children copy what they see us doing. If you would like your child to grow up like someone you know, then that person might be a good choice for a Godparent.
* You are looking for someone who will encourage your child to go to Church. Why? Because, despite all its faults, Church is the place where they are more likely to learn that God loves them. And how do you encourage a child to go to Church? Simple. You take them.
Just one other thing. Godparents must be Baptised themselves; it makes sense.
But what if you have a Godly friend who belongs to another religion? They might be just right for the role, but they won’t be able to make some of the promises at the Baptism. At St John’s we have a set of promises they can make, so that they are involved right from the start of your child’s faith journey
Godparents can be really important people in a child’s life. Choose smart!