"And she said to him, 'As surely as you live, my Lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord. I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.' And he worshipped the Lord there." 1 Samuel 1:26-28 (NIV)
It is Woodcrest Church's custom to offer Parent/Child Dedication services for infants and children. This is a special time of public ceremony and personal commitment when the child's parents and the church family promise to raise the child in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Dedication services are held throughout the year on Sunday mornings (usually scheduled for Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day and Thanksgiving Sunday) as part of the regular worship hour. The church family, in witnessing this ceremony, pledges itself to the spiritual care and education of the child. It is a reminder to the congregation that all of the children of the church belong to God and are our mutual responsibility.
What Is Parent/Child Dedication
The custom of Parent/Child Dedication has ancient origins in the Bible. The Israelites, on the eighth day of a child's life, brought their children to the priest for a blessing. In 1 Samuel, Hannah brought her son, Samuel, to Eli, the priest, to dedicate him to the Lord. Mary and Joseph brought Baby Jesus to the temple for His dedication.
We recognize that faith comes to a child through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Faith is not passed on to a child through Parent/Child Dedication; rather, Dedication is a statement of obedient intent. Parents are promising to raise their child in the training and instruction of the Lord, with the desire that one day their child will receive Jesus Christ as his/her personal Savior.
Parents should prayerfully enter into Parent/Child Dedication. The should see this ceremony as a very special moment of sacred trust. Both parents are saying, in effect, that they have previously committed their lives to Christ and are promising God that, to the best of their ability, they will lead their child in the same way.
Can My Child Wear a Christening Gown?
Yes. These gowns are often family heirlooms that have a significant, meaningful history within the extended family.
Is Dedication the Same As Infant Baptism or Christening?
No. Parent/Child Dedication is different from the rites of infant baptism or christening. While these rites are significant for a variety of faiths, it is the practice of Woodcrest Church to dedicate children.
Infant baptism was developed in early church history as a means to ensure the salvation of infants before they could make a personal decision to trust Jesus Christ and become Christians. In certain faiths, it is believed that if an infant or small child dies before making this personal decision, he or she is assured of a place in heaven through baptism.
We believe, however, that Scripture clearly sees infants and small children automatically destined for heaven, should they die before they reach an age when they can understand the Gospel and make the decision on their own to receive Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. King David, after his child died, said, "I will go to him, but he will not return to me" (2 Samuel 12:23b).
Can We Have Godparents?
Yes. This custom of having a person or couple, assigned by the parents, to keep track of the child's faith, has a long and significant history in the church. According to church history, certain persons (commonly two) assist or "sponsor" the child at the administration of dedication, baptism or confirmation by making a profession of the Christian faith on behalf of the child and guaranteeing the child's religious education. It is often the godparents who act as legal custodians, should something happen to the parents. The godparents' primary purpose, however, is spiritual. Though it is not required, the family may choose to recognize godparents during the ceremony.
Parent / Child Dedication Checklist
- Contact Woodcrest Church to request the next available dedication date.
- Fill out the Parent/Child dedication family questionnaire.
- Email or bring your child's picture to the Woodcrest Church office.
- Meet with pastoral staff (immediately before the service) to get acquainted with that day's venue.
- Pray that this special day would be a significant moment in your family's life.