It won’t surprise you that we do a fair few christenings. Teddington, after all, abounds with young children. But this year our numbers are down. Over the past five years we’ve consistently baptised around 70 children per year. In 2016 it has dropped to around 50. This decline follows a national trend, along with church weddings and funerals. So the Church of England is getting its act together and producing some new resources to encourage people to think about marking their big life events in their local church, even if they are not regular attenders. I can very confidently recommend the following websites:

The Christenings website will soon have some video footage to explain what happens. The exciting news is that we will be the parish that is featured. It just so happens that I trained with the Project Director and that she is a good friend of my colleague Mary. But I’d like to think that we were also selected for our good practice! So in September we had a film crew taking footage of a particularly busy Christening (they just happened to pick the one time this year when we had four children baptised in the same service). Then the following weekend they filmed us doing a preparation session at Ss Peter & Paul. We’ll let you know when it goes live.

In the meantime, here’s the introduction: "Your child is precious to you and precious to God. You want the very best for them, and so does God. You want them to make right choices for themselves and others. A christening is just the beginning of this and so much more. At a christening your child will be baptised. It’s the first step of an amazing journey with God, parents, godparents, friends, family and the church. A lifetime of discovering more about love, faith and hope begins – a wonderful moment to celebrate."

We’d love to hear from anyone who would like to talk about having a christening. The same applies for weddings and funerals. We think that a church is the best place for these occasions because it makes a connection with both God and the local community.

Please don’t think you have to be a regular churchgoer before making a request. Just drop me a line. We’re here to serve everyone in the community. As one old Archbishop famously put it: ‘Church is the only society on earth that exists for the benefit of non-members’.

Best wishes,

Joe Moffat