Godparents are very
important people and no doubt you were thrilled to be
asked to be one.
Being asked to be a
godparent is a great honour, privilege and
responsibility. The decision to accept should be thought
It means that your
friends or relations trust you to help them bring up
their child in the Christian Faith. The role of a
godparent is an important one, and the purpose of this
leaflet is to help you understand what is involved.
Who can be a Godparent?
Normally godparents are
family or close friends of the child's parents.
Traditionally the Church has required at least three
godparents, at least two of whom are of the same sex as
the child, and at least one of the opposite sex. Parents
can also be godparents provided the child has at least
one other godparent, but this rarely happens.
One requirement people
often overlook is that
themselves have been baptised; and they should normally
be confirmed members of the Church (the priest may
dispense with the requirement that the godparents should
Do Godparents have to be practising Christians?
Ideally the godparent
needs to understand their own spiritual journey as they
support the child in their journey of faith. Christening
isn’t just something that’s ‘done because it always has
been’. It is an important stage in the child’s life as
you and the parents commit his or her life to Jesus.
There is a very special
role to play as a godparent apart from promoting
Christian faith, and that is to show the child how to
live life. It is also very special to have an adult
friend to talk to about all sorts of things you might
rather not tell your parents!
Who would not feel proud
and honoured to be asked to be a godparent? This sense
of pride and responsibility can develop into a special
bond between adult and godchild. In fact this
relationship can be so wonderful
and unique that it should be freely available for
anyone who has the genuine best interests of someone
else's child close to their heart.
So what do I have to say in the service?
During the Christening,
the minister asks the parents and godparents:
Will you pray for them,
draw them by your example into the community of faith
and walk with them in the way of Christ? Response:
With the help of God, we will.
Will you care for them and help them take their place
within the life and worship of Christ's Church?
Response: With the help of God, we will.
Later, parents and
godparents are then asked these six questions:
Do you reject the devil
and all rebellion against God? Response: I reject
Do you renounce the deceit and corruption of evil?
Response: I renounce them.
Do you repent of the sins that separate us from God
and neighbour? Response: I repent of them.
Do you turn to Christ as Saviour?
Response: I turn to Christ.
Do you submit to Christ as Lord?
Response: I submit to Christ.
Do you come to Christ, the way, the truth and the
Response: I come to Christ.
Reading all this, it's clear that becoming a
godparent is a big responsibility, at least if you want
to take your promises seriously. That's why it's
important that you consider carefully the declarations
and promises you are going to be asked to make
before the day of the christening service.
You may wish to have the sign of the cross made on
your forehead, just as your godchild will have the sign
of the cross made on their forehead with oil which has
been blessed in the cathedral. The sign of the cross
shows that your Godchild is now part of Christ’s family,
a family to which you already belong.
Jesus Baptised in
The River Jordan,
Receives the Holy Spirit
After the service:
This is when the godparent's role really begins, and
not just in the sense of sending presents at birthdays
and Christmas! Ideally, as godparents you will:
Go on praying for your
Keep in touch with
them and their family; in time this contact can be by a
card, e-mail, text, etc.
It's a good idea if
godparents give a present or a card at the christening
anniversary: in time this will help your godchild
understand why their christening was a significant point
in their life.
Lead them by your
example towards a Christian way of life.
Continue to support
and encourage them until they can make their christening
promises for themselves at confirmation.
All this will also
make it more likely that your godchild, as they get
older, may want to talk to you about important things in
their lives, including their faith.
Some questions often asked by potential godparents
Q. Does being a godparent involve being a legal
guardian as well?
A. No. The roles
Q. I am not sure I'm up to this. How do I know if I
have enough faith to keep these promises?
A. Jesus told his disciples that they'd do great
things if they had faith "the size of a mustard seed".
What matters isn't the extent of our faith: it's that
our faith is in a great and loving God.
Q. What should I do if I've not thought much about
faith or haven't been to church regularly?
A. Becoming a godparent is an ideal opportunity to
discover more about Christian faith for you. Our
churches offer courses in spirituality and faith, please
ask the Vicar for more information. It is an option for
those who are not confirmed to apply for training and be
confirmed by the Bishop at a confirmation Service.
Q. It feels like a big responsibility being a
A. That’s true and you should think carefully about
the declarations and promises that you are about to make
on behalf of the child. It is important for you to think
about whether you can fulfil the commitment you are
making. You will find that the church will support you
and share the task with you.
There are many different ways of carrying out your
duties as godparent, but one of the most important
things to do is to build a relationship with your
You may already know a child well before you are
asked to be a godparent, but if not; try to make a start
before the Christening takes place.
Make time to see your godchild as regularly as
you can. Try to give him or her one-to-one attention:
find out what makes them tick, what makes them happy or
Christening anniversaries are a good occasion for
you to get together and think again about what the
christening was all about.
Most adults find it hard to really get to know a
baby, but as your Godchild grows up it will become
easier, so keep on making the effort.
Your Godchild's confirmation is a very important
opportunity for you to make yourself available - not
just at the ceremony, but in the lead up to it. Get
involved in the thought process that leads up to it.
Talk it through.
Don't think that confirmation is the end of your
Godparent’s responsibilities. It can be the
beginning of the time they need you most. That
delightful little angel may be developing into a surly
teenager - Chances are that this is when they
most need to be able to talk to an adult who is not one
of their parents.
Thereafter a godparent can continue to provide a role
model and influence in career and relationship matters,
as well as matters more spiritual, for many years to
The more you put in to being a godparent, the more
you and your Godchild will get out.
What should we give our Godchild?
The most important gifts you can give your godchild
are your prayers, your love and your support. If, like
most godparents, you want to mark the baptism with a
gift, the ideal present is something that your godchild
will appreciate and use more as she or he grows up. Here
are a few ideas:
A Bible: some editions are specifically designed
for children, with pictures and simple language; others
with a more adult layout, and will come into their own
A Book of Bible stories: there are some very
attractive, well-illustrated books of Bible stories
suitable for younger children.
A Book of Prayers.
A small wooden cross or a gold or silver cross on a
chain; or perhaps a candleholder to fit your godchild's
A Nativity Set: a good annual reminder of the heart
of the Christmas story.
You may wish to send a small gift or card on the
anniversary of your godchild’s christening and support
them with cards and letters as they grow in their
We hope you will enjoy being a godparent and will
have a rewarding and fruitful relationship with your
godchild. The church family is also here to support you,
and regular church attendance will help you access this
support. Please do not hesitate to contact your Vicar if
you have any questions or need help.
A prayer for your Godchild
Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of (name) and
for all the joy he/she brings us. Be with him/her on
his/her Christian journey, that he/she may come to know
Jesus as his/her Lord and Saviour, brother and friend.
Vicar: The Reverend Nick Mansfield 01772 742367