St Johns East Malvern

Sponsors and Godparents

The role of sponsors, or godparents as they have traditionally been known, was once understood in rather mechanistic terms. Sponsors responded on behalf of their godchildren to questions asked by the Celebrant during the service, and committed themselves to ensuring that each child would learn the Creed, Lord’s Prayer, and the Ten Commandments.

The responsibilities of sponsors, however, are now seen in much broader terms. In a substantial sense, the role begins once the baptism service has been completed. Godparents are expected to help guide the newly-baptised as they begin their journey in faith and are incorporated into the life of the church. In the case of young children, this may take many years.

As such, the baptism service is only a beginning. Godparents accept a particular responsibility to help each child grow in spirituality. Baptism initiates a lifelong journey of searching and questioning, showing love and mercy, and contending with evil and injustice, and it is the responsibility of sponsors to help their godchildren mature in this life until they can make decisions of their own.

Godparents should, therefore, be chosen with great care. The promise to help their godchildren to follow Jesus and develop through prayer requires sponsors to look to their own spiritual journey as they commit themselves to this role. In order to exercise their responsibilities effectively, godparents themselves need a mature understanding of the way of Christ, and hence it is desirable that they participate along with parents in the preparation program before baptism.

Godparents or sponsors do not need to be Anglicans but they must be baptised and should be worshipping members of a Christian congregation. Parents may also wish to have other friends or family members join with the godparents during the baptism in committing themselves to the spiritual development and wellbeing of their children.

Saint Agnes’ may also appoint a Parish Sponsor for each child as well, who will attend classes with the parents and godparents, and continue afterwards as a point of contact with the church.

Contact theĀ VicarĀ for the promises made in baptism