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For the background to this exciting service click here.

BI is really grateful to the parents and to South Asia Concern for permission to publish this service which has much to offer anyone planning a Thanksgiving Service

Naamakarana (Naming ceremony) – welcoming a new child into the community

Note

This particular ceremony was performed by Suneel and Susan, the parents of Amir Daniel. The leader of the service was a Church of England clergyman. 

 

Family members and friends were chosen for the readings to enable them to participate in the event.  Their names are not included. To avoid complication for those who were not Christians, explicit Bible references were not given, but instead descriptions such as ‘Written by Moses’ etc. See the programme.

In this case, the child’s grandparents on one side and grand aunt were present, and out of respect for them (and in keeping with Asian culture of respect for the older generation) they announced the name to those present and to the child.

Introduction and welcome

·          This naming ceremony was broadly based on the Hindu Naming ceremony, the Naamakarana

·          The aim is:

o        To acknowledge that God is the giver of life, and so to thank God for the child, and to commit him to God

o        To announce his name to family and friends, and for them to welcome him into the community

§         Now that he is out of his mother’s womb, he is a person in his own right, and we can recognise that by welcoming him into our community

o        To pray for him

o        To proclaim his purpose in life

o        For his parents to receive prayer, affirmation and support from their family and friends

Leader to introduce the ceremony, covering the above points, for example.: Suneel and Susan’s first child has been born, and they would like to thank God for him, to introduce you to him, and for you welcome him into our community of friends and family, telling him of our friendship and commitment to him, and to pray for him….

Also a few friends will pray for them.

The thanksgiving

Reading by a family member

‘When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female; at the time they were created, he blessed them and called them ‘mankind’.’

God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”’  

‘You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.’  

Leader: God has given life, something which even science cannot do, so it is good to recognise his power, and the limitations of our own.

Suneel and Susan: Heavenly Father, we acknowledge that while we are our son’s parents, it was you and not us who gave him life. We thank you for this child, and ask your blessing upon him and us. Give us wisdom as we bring him up, in Jesus' name. Amen.

(Sung refrain; sung twice)

The steadfast love of the lord never ceases.
  His mercies never come to an end.
They are new every morning, new every morning.
Great is your faithfulness O Lord,
Great is your faithfulness.

The giving of the name

Reading by the Grandmother: Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their parents  

Leader:  Now that this child is no longer in Susan’s womb, he has become a member of this community of family and friends.

Suneel and Susan have chosen a name for their son. Fred and Doreen will announce the name, and then Suneel and Susan will explain its meaning.  

Grandfather: The boy’s name is Amir Daniel

Eldest aunt / relation: My child, your name is Amir Daniel. May God bless you.   

Susan and Suneel sing to Amir: The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face shine upon you, and give you his peace. 

Suneel and Susan explain the choice of name: We were looking for a short name, and Amir was a name that we liked. It means leader. We chose Daniel for different reasons: Susan liked it as Daniel was a man of prayer, and Suneel liked it as Daniel was a very humble leader, who followed God, but with sensitivity and compassion. He lived in Babylon around 550BC.

The name actually means ‘God is my judge’. Daniel was a man of integrity, who was more concerned about God’s will for his life, than about following the crowd or worrying about what people will say.

Our prayer for him is to be wise and to get on well with others,

Readings from the life of Daniel

Daniel resolved not to do wrong in God’s sight.  

On one occasion when he saw a vision from God, he prayed to God for several days. In response to his prayers an angel came to him and said: Daniel, you who are highly esteemed…since the day you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.  

The Welcome

Reading: A proverb of King Solomon: ‘A friend loves at all times, and family are there to help in adversity.’ 

Leader: Let us now welcome Amir into our community, adding your own blessings.

The grandrelations

Amir, Daniel, we welcome you into our family. You are the start of a new generation. Continue the family line, bringing honour to your family and community.  

Suneel and Susan, God has given you Amir to look after, to love and to enjoy. May he give you great wisdom as you bring him up.

The cousins

Amir, Daniel, Hi. We welcome you, the new cousin, into our family, and look forward to playing with you and being your friend. May God bless you.

The aunts and uncles

Amir, Daniel, we welcome you as our new nephew. May you be a leader of others, through your words, actions, and life, and may you follow the example of your namesake, Daniel, living with integrity, wisdom and humility. May God bless you.  

Suneel and Susan, we congratulate you on bringing this new addition to our family. We will support you in your new role as parents.

The wider family

Amir, Daniel, welcome to our family. May you prosper, and live a long life. May God bless you.  

Suneel and Susan, we also recognise you as Amir’s parents, and will support you as you decide how to bring him up. May you have great wisdom.

The friends

As friends of your parents, you are very special to us also, Amir, Daniel. We will support your parents, and love you. We welcome you. May God bless you.  

The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and give you his peace. (sung twice, by all)

The Commission  

Readings from the Bible

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account

Words of David: Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

For the Lord is good, and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Words of Jesus: So I tell you, do not panic about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.  

The prophet Jeremiah: ‘For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you.’ says the Lord.

Leader: Amir, Daniel, understand that God is your creator, and you are his creation. But also understand that God is good. He loves you, and cares for you. As part of his creation, you were made for his purposes, and not your own, for his glory and not yours. So find out what pleases God, and live a life worthy of him.

Suneel: God is a God of justice, caring for the weak and vulnerable, Susan: So care for those weaker than yourself.
Suneel: He is a God of love,
Susan: So sacrifice yourself for others,
Suneel: He is a God of mercy,
Susan: So be kind to others,
Suneel: And of forgiveness,
Susan: So forgive others as he forgives you
 

Leader: When you do wrong, ask his forgiveness, understanding that Jesus had paid for the punishment each one of us deserves for our sins. God is always willing to forgive us, but we must be willing to follow him. So be grateful for his mercy and forgiveness  

Enjoy his companionship, for God has made us to have a relationship with him, In the day of trouble, call to Jesus, and he will answer you.

Suneel and Susan: Amir, we love you, and will always care for you, but we recognise that God is your Heavenly Father, and so we commit you to his care. We know that we can’t always be there to protect you, and we know that what we want for you may not always be the right thing. So we commit you to God. May he guide you and direct you. May he reveal himself to you. When he calls, follow him. Where he leads, go.  

Allow his Holy Spirit to fill you, and to guide you throughout your life. And enjoy his peace.

Sung refrain (sung twice):

The steadfast love of the lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning, new every morning.
Great is your faithfulness O Lord,
  Great is your faithfulness.

Sung refrain (sung once): The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face shine upon you, and give you his peace.   

Prayers

Leader: We’ll now have a time of prayer for Amir and also Suneel and Susan. A few people have been asked to pray.  

An open time of prayer, but with people primed, and asked to pray with sensitivity.  

Sung refrain (sung once): The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and give you his peace.   

Final blessing in Sindhi    
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