I recently heard about an acquaintance’s ‘Baby naming Ceremony’ that was held instead of a Baptism. It’s really foreign to me and seems devoid of any substance. The celebration included a cake, with balloons and other party paraphernalia and of course invited guests. The parents read out vows of love and support and a chosen ‘mentor’ was present. Of course the spirituality was missing from the equation. The spiritual side of the baby’s person is obviously interpreted in a different way. Do the parents recognise the existence of their baby’s soul? Sadly lacking in-depth or true value methinks.
Naming ceremonies are secular (non-religious) ceremonies. A number of venues nationwide hold naming ceremonies and organisations such as The British Humanist Association (BHA) also arrange these celebrations. Humanists believe there is no higher power than humanity and that we have advanced through our own efforts, without God.
Parents have free reign over what’s included in the ceremony, choosing either to lead the ceremony themselves or the BHA can provide a trained ‘celebrant’, who can help them to prepare the ceremony and lead it on the day. During the ceremony the parents state their love and commitment to their child and declare hopes for their future. Many choose to read poetry or a favourite piece of prose, with music playing in the background.
Rather than godparents, whose traditional role is to help guide the child in a Christian life, “supporting adults” or “mentors” (who may be friends or family) just need to say that they will be there for the child as he or she grows up and throughout their life in whatever way is needed.