To Christen or not to Christen, that is the question.
This has been on the my mind for a long time now. Probably since our eldest was born – so over 4 years now. We are not Churchgoers. I wouldn’t say we are particularly religious. But I am christened, as is my husband, and we got married in Church… so why wouldn’t we christen our children?
There’s one overriding feeling that’s holding me back.
I’ve been taking the children to an amazing Church toddler group – not because it’s at the Church, but because the little ones love the activities and I crave the company of fellow knackered parents and salt-of-the-earth volunteers who run it.
I went to a C of E Primary school, where we dutifully took tins and pasta to Harvest Festival at the Church down the road. We sang hymns in school and said the Lord’s Prayer. It’s the only reason I know it! Secondary school was different, I don’t remember any religious leaning apart from a bit of R.E. up to year 9. As a young adult I only went to Church for family weddings and a funeral.
When we were planning our wedding, we also debated about whether or not to get married in Church – but we both knew we wanted to. And not just for the photos, I promise. My husband was still in the Armed Forces at that point, and we both felt it was more binding and ‘proper’ to marry in Church for whatever reason, and that some civil ceremonies involved a quick ‘Do you? Do you? Anyone object? Right you’re married!’ and it’s over. It wasn’t really about God, but we did want big scary words and a belting rendition of ‘Jerusalem’.
So I think the problem is – I feel like a hypocrite. How can I get the children christened and answer their questions about it if, despite my respect for the Church, I don’t feel like a religious person?
But then an amazing tweet featuring Coventry Cathedral‘s somewhat unconventional welcome sign caught my eye.
I have so much love for this. I wish I lived in Coventry as that’s the kind of Church I’d give up a Sunday morning to go to. You can read the full sign in the local article here, but my favourite parts are:
“We don’t care if you’re more Christian than the Archbishop of Canterbury, or haven’t been to church since Christmas ten years ago…
“We welcome keep-fit mums, football dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters… and those who here because granny is visiting and wanted to come to the Cathedral.
“We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down their throats as kids or got lost in the city centre and wound up here by mistake…
“We welcome pilgrims, tourists, seekers, doubters… and YOU!”
Bet you’ll find yourselves in that list, and bet you’d feel the urge to walk through the door if you were there. Because is it just me or do you also feel a sense of “eeek the vicar is going to pick me out of the congregation and question me on my beliefs and verse something of thingybob Chapter” if you even so much as set foot in their church? Like you need to pass a religious test for entry. Or if you do go to Church you’re deemed a Bible basher?
The fact is, I don’t know how I feel about God, but I don’t want to analyse it too much – and sometimes I’m curious.
Bet Coventry Cathedral would happily welcome the hypocritical, unsure, should-we-shouldn’t we Media Mummy family. And not grill me about why I’m christening the children.
Maybe I’ll take a trip up to Coventry.
Featured image: Shutterstock / Claudio Divizia