Wednesday, July 30, 2014
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Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child

The minister welcomes the people using a liturgical greeting or other suitable words. A hymn or song may be sung, and the service may be introduced by the words of the introductory sentences or other similar words.

The Lord be with you 
and also with you.

We are here today to give thanks for these children, with their family and friends, and to support their parents in their responsibilities with prayer and love. God became one of us in Jesus, and understands all that surrounds the arrival and upbringing of children. It is God's purpose that children should know love within the stability of their home, grow in faith, and come at last to the eternal city where his love reigns supreme.

The works of the Lord are great: 
his mercy endures for ever.

Mary gave birth to a child and called him Jesus: 
he will save his people from their sins.

He will be called the Prince of Peace:
his kingdom will last for ever.

The minister says

Loving God,
you hold all things in life
and call us into your kingdom of peace;
help us to walk the path of your truth
and fill our lives with gratitude and faith,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.  

Reading(s) and Sermon

A suitable passage from the Bible is read.

Sermon

Thanksgiving and Blessing

Where parents wish to recognize the role of supporting friends it may be appropriate for them to stand with the parents at the thanksgiving. One of them may present the children to the minister, and informal words may be said.

The minister says

Do you receive these children as a gift from God?
We do.

Do you wish to give thanks to God and seek his blessing?
We do.

The minister says

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 minister may say for each child

What name have you given this child?

A parent or supporting friend replies
His/her name is N.

The minister may take the child.
The minister says

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.

When all the children have been prayed for

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.

The minister prays for the parents

May God the Father of all bless these parents
and give them grace to love and care for their children.
May God give them wisdom, patience and faith,
help them to provide for the children's needs
and, by their example,
reveal the love and truth that are in Jesus Christ. 
Amen. 

Giving of the Gospel

 A copy of a Gospel is presented, with these words

Receive this book.
It is the good news of God's love.
Take it as your guide.

The minister may address the supporting friends and say

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.

The minister may address the wider family and friends and say

Will you do all that you can to help and support this family?
With the help of God, we will.

Prayers

This prayer may be said by the parents or by the whole congregation

God our creator,
we thank you for the gift of these children,
entrusted to our care.
May we be patient and understanding,
ready to guide and to forgive,
so that through our love
they may come to know your love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Jesus taught us to call God our Father,
and so in faith and trust we say

Our Father in heaven,  
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen. 

Ending

The minister says the blessing

The love of the Lord Jesus
draw you to himself,
the power of the Lord Jesus
strengthen you in his service,
the joy of the Lord Jesus fill your hearts;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always. 
Amen.
 

Copyright acknowledgment (where not already indicated above):
Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops' Council 2000

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