I am often asked about whether it’s ‘OK’ to have Godparents at a Naming Ceremony. Each naming ceremony is unique because there is no set script or pattern. And this is what so many parents value about this welcoming of the child into the wider circle of family and friends. Parents can choose every aspect of the celebration, from the statements of commitment to the child’s future, to readings and music as ways of symbolising the welcome to that child. Since the ceremony is not religious, the phrase ‘Godparent’ is probably not appropriate. But parents often want to invite family members or friends to take a special interest in the child’s development, be there as a listening ear, giving advice and guidance, and also to support the parents. So what to call these individuals? Some people like ‘sponsor’, ‘mentor’ or ‘guiding adult’ or ‘guardian’. Guardian does have a particular legal meaning so maybe should be avoided. ‘Supporting adult’ is popular, as is, would you believe ‘odd parent’ for those with a particular sense of humour!
These special people in the ceremony can make a promise to the child. One I wrote recently was:
“Cathy and Kate, do you formally accept a commitment to this child, to offer friendship and sanctuary, so that she can turn to you in times of doubt or difficulty with confidence and trust?”
Their reply: A simple “We Do”.