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RE:QUEST

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Rites of Passage: Dedication

Why do some Christians choose dedication over infant baptism?

 

Why choose dedication? One family shares their story here:

When our children were born, we experienced the joy and excitement shared by all new parents as we saw new life come into the world. We knew we were grateful and wanted to share in some sort of "birth ceremony" with friends, family and grandparents.

'Deciding which sort of ceremony was not really too difficult. We wanted to say thank you to God in a public way. At the same time we wanted to make it clear that although we held Christian beliefs, that did not mean that our children were automatically Christian.

'That step would involve them making their own decision when they were older. So it was that a number of months after each birth we had a service of dedication for each child. Members of the Church, friends and grandparents came to one of our usual Sunday morning services. It was at the usual service time and wasn't a 'family-only' affair.

'During the service, the baby was brought to the front of the congregation, when everyone joined in with special thanksgiving prayers. We as parents made a commitment to bring up the child in a Christian, loving family, where they would learn about the love of God. The members of the Church present promised to help us as parents to bring the child up in a Christian home.

Then our Pastor held the baby and walked around the church to introduce her to the congregation. To mark the dedication, each child received a Christian book as a gift from the Church congregation. In this way, we all thanked God for the children and prayed that each one would make their own decision to follow Jesus when they were old enough.'

Did you know? The idea of dedicating a child to the service of God goes back to the story of Samuel in the Old Testament. He was a baby who grew up to become an important prophet. You can read about his dedication in 1 Samuel 1.