Oh My Godmothers

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When I was a few months old, I was christened into the Church of England in Christ Church, Swindon, where we were living in 1968 when my father worked for GEC. My brothers had also been christened as had my mum and dad before us. Mum was also confirmed. Not sure about Dad, but possibly as he had been at public school. Neither my brothers nor I were confirmed. Despite the promise made by our godparents:

Ye are to take care that this child be brought to the Bishop to be confirmed by him.

Do godparents still promise this? (And has the Church changed its baptism cards to include ‘her’ as well as ‘him’?) I wouldn’t know as I haven’t been to a C of E christening in a long time, not because I am not a Christian. I am. But I’m a Baptist.

Back in the day I would have been persecuted for being an anabaptist – someone who has been re-baptised as a believer – because I was baptised again as an adult (full immersion this time). As Baptists we bring our babies to the church for dedication and then, when they are older, they can make their own decisions about baptism – the equivalent of confirmation in the Anglican Church. Nowadays there’s a trend for Baptists to choose godparents for their kids too, which I think is lovely.

I have three godparents: two godmothers and a godfather. Despite them, I still became a Christian. Auntie Anne did her best. I haven’t seen Auntie Brenda since I was a kid so I don’t really remember her (though I did find out that her brother was the late, legendary, TV chef who liked a glass of wine). And then there’s Uncle John who is very dear to me but not exactly a fully paid up member of the church club.

So what are godparents? And why have I never been asked to be one? I think I would have made an awesome godmother. But none of my contemporaries had their kids christened back when I was of an age for godparenting. And now, when I have more friends who are both Christians and having babies, I am too old.

To be asked to take some responsibility and care for a child’s spiritual journey is a privilege. Whatever beliefs you hold, spirituality is an aspect of personal growth that can be missed and that should be cherished and nurtured. It’s never too late.

And remember, it’s not all about who you ask to the party. Really.

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2 thoughts on “Oh My Godmothers

  1. Sophie, it is my belief ,that originally in the Anglican Church the godparents were to be basically back up for parents. If parents could not see to the church up bringing of the children or needed a resource they could ask the god parents for help.

    I am a god parent to a young girl and her mom chose all the important people in this childs life as god parents, this was done in consultation with our minister who bless him believes that a community raises a child and in this case it is quite true.

    As it turned out this little ones parents devorced. It was during this time that I had the privledge of helping her mom and the little girl by taking them to church on Sundays, talking about our faith and beliefs etc etc. Being part of achurch family really helped them through the rough times at the beginning and Father John was fantastic!

    I am no longer closely involved with the family. But, her Aunties and cousins now get together with them regularly and her Mom although bitter about the divorce has managed to move on and is an excellent single parent.

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