Thanksgiving
for the Gift of a Child

This service provides an opportunity for parents and families to give thanks for the birth or adoption of a child and to offer prayer for family life. It may take place in the home, the hospital, in church, or some other suitable setting as soon as convenient after the birth or adoption of a child.

This service has no connection with Baptism, which is the sacrament of initiation into the Church, the body of Christ.

A priest, deacon or duty authorised layperson may lead the service with the family.


Welcome

The minister greets the family and friends informally, and then says

In the name of God,
the giver of life,
who creates and loves us all.

The minister continues in these or similar words.

E te whānau a te Karaiti / Dear friends in Christ,
we have come to celebrate the gift of this child,
born into the world;
given to us
to love, to nurture and to enjoy.

A hymn or song may be sung.

The minister may say to the parents)

N (and N), what name have you given this child?

The family, holding the child, responds

We have named you (name or names).

The family may wish to explain the choice of name
and may give a gift or token to the child.

A Gospel may be presented with the words

Receive this book.
In it is the good news of God’s love.


The Ministry of the Word

One of the following or some other suitable psalm may be read.

Psalm 121, Psalm 127 or Psalm 128

One of the following or some other suitable scripture passage may follow.

1 Samuel 2:1-10
Luke 1:46-55
Mark 10:13-16
Luke 2:21-32

The minister may speak to those present.

A hymn or song may be included here.


The Thanksgiving

The parents of the child may say together

God our Creator,
thank you for the waiting and the joy,
thank you for new life and for parenthood,
thank you for the gift of N,
entrusted to our care.
May we be patient and understanding,
ready to guide and forgive,
that in our love N may know your love.
May s/he learn to love your world
and the whole family of your children;
through Christ our life.
Amen.

Or

If only one parent of a child is present the above form may be used or the parent may say

God our Creator,
thank you for the waiting and the joy,
thank you for new life and for parenthood,
thank you for the gift of N,
entrusted to my care.
May I be patient and understanding,
ready to guide and forgive,
that in my love N may know your love.
May s/he learn to love your world
and the whole family of your children;
through Christ our life.
Amen.

Or

The parents) may use this thanksgiving for a child born handicapped.

God the creator of us all,
we give you thanks for the life of this child.
Grant us accepting and understanding hearts,
and the gifts of courage and patience to face the challenge
of caring for her/him.
Let your love for us be seen in our lives,
that we may create an atmosphere
in which s/he will live a life of dignity and worth.
We ask this in the name of Jesus, the compassionate.
Amen.

The minister may say one of the above thanksgivings with, or on behalf of,
the parents.

The Prayers

The mother may pray

Creator Spirit,
I thank you for the experience of giving birth;
for the preparation and expectancy,
and for my part in creation.
I thank you for sustaining me through the pain of labour,
and for the birth of our/my son/daughter N.
Amen.


The father may pray

Living God,
I thank you for the gift of N,
this new member of our family,
and for the promise of her/his personality.
Guard her/him from all that may harm her/him,
and make her/him happy in receiving and giving love.
Amen.


Adoptive parents may pray

O God,
you have warmly accepted us into your family;
we thank you for this child,
whom we now receive into our family with love.
May s/he be nourished with all that is good,
and grow day by day into a complete faith in you,
through Jesus Christ our Saviour.
Amen.


The grandparents and wider family may pray

We thank you, Father, that you have set us in family groups,
with relatives and friends of all ages.
Help us to respect and care for one another, and for this child,
so that in our family s/he may see and enjoy
many loving relationships;
through Jesus, our Saviour, who loves us.
Amen.

Or the minister may pray

FOR THE MOTHER AFTER THE DELIVERY OF HER CHILD

Holy Spirit of God, creator and sustainer of human life,
we praise you that you have called N
to share in your creative acts by the great mystery of childbirth.
We give you thanks that she has been brought safely
through the time of pregnancy and labour,
bringing new life into this world which you love;
in the name of him who was born of a woman,
Jesus Christ our Redeemer.
Amen.


FOR THE NATURAL PARENTS OF AN ADOPTED CHILD

God,
whose nature is always to have mercy,
look down with love on N’s natural* father and mother;
keep them in your good care,
and give them peace in their hearts,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

* The word ‘natural’ refers to the child’s ‘birth’ parents


The minister may add one or more of the following prayers.

God of the humble and hopeful,
you bless those who believe when you promise.
Help us, like Mary and Elizabeth,
simply to delight in the good things
you prepare for us,
to say ‘yes’,
and to trust that your strength and your love
will provide the wisdom needed by those
who care for N.
Amen.

We thank you God for this new person,
child of your creation.
May the knowledge of you dawn on her/him,
may the love of you grow in her/him,
and may the grace of your Spirit draw her/him to you.
Amen.


THE FAMILY AND HOME

Eternal Spirit, Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven,
enfold this family with your grace.
May their home be a place of your presence,
your forgiveness and your freedom
May your will be done in them and through them
this day and for ever.
Amen.


The minister concludes the prayers, saying one of the introductions to The Lord’s Prayer.

Gathering our prayers and praises into one,
let us pray as our Saviour teaches us

Or

As God’s children and heirs with Christ
we cry in the Spirit, ‘Abba!’

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.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
now and for ever.    Amen.


Kua akona nei tātou e tō tātou Ariki,
ka inoi tātou

E tō mātou Matua i te rangi
Kia tapu tōu Ingoa.
Kia tae mai tōu rangatiratanga.
Kia meatia tāu e pai ai
ki runga ki te whenua,
kia rite anō ki tō te rangi.
Hōmai ki a mātou āianei
he taro mā mātou mō tēnei rā.
Murua ō mātou hara,
Me mātou hoki e muru nei
i ō te hunga e hara ana ki a mātou.
Āua hoki mātou e kawea kia whakawaia;
Engari whakaorangia mātou i te kino:
Nōu hoki te rangatiratanga, te kaha,
me te korōria,
Āke ake ake.    Āmine.

Final Prayer or Blessing

When a priest is present, the child and family are blessed,
using either of these forms or another blessing.

The blessing of the God of Sarah and of Abraham,
the blessing of the Son, born of Mary,
the blessing of the Spirit, who broods over us
as a mother over her children,
be with you now and for ever.
Amen.

Mā te Atua koe e manaaki,
e tiaki i ngā wā katoa,
e noho i roto i te aroha o te Atua;
ko te aroha hoki te mea nui.
Āmine.

The priest or minister concludes with this prayer.

Our Lord Jesus Christ be with you to defend you,
within you to keep you,
before you to lead you,
beside you to guard you,
and above you to bless you.
Amen.

The family responds

All embracing God
the hope of every generation,
complete our joy by your presence;
give us quiet strength and patient wisdom
as we nurture N
in all that is good, and true, and just,
through Jesus Christ our friend and brother. Amen.

A New Zealand Prayer Book | He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa

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