A Thanksgiving for the Birth or Adoption of a Child

As soon as convenient after the birth of a child, or after receiving a child
by adoption, the parents, with other members of the family, should come
to the church to be welcomed by the congregation and to give thanks to
Almighty God. It is desirable that this take place at a Sunday service. In
the Eucharist it may follow the Prayers of the People preceding the
Offertory. At Morning or Evening Prayer it may take place before the
close of the Office.

When desired, a briefer form of this service may be used, especially in the
hospital or at home; in which case the Celebrant may begin with the Act
of Thanksgiving, or with the prayer “O God, you have taught is.” A
passage from Scripture may first be read. Either Luke 2:41-51, or Luke
18:15-17, is appropriate.

During the prayers, some parents may wish to express thanks in their
own words.

At the proper time, the Celebrant invites the parents and other members
of the family to present themselves before the Altar.

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For the Birth of a Child

The Celebrant addresses the congregation in these or similar words

Dear Friends: The birth of a child is a joyous and solemn
occasion in the life of a family. It is also an occasion for
rejoicing in the Christian community. I bid you, therefore,
to join N. [and N.] in giving thanks to Almighty God our
heavenly Father, the Lord of all life, for the gift of N. to be
their son (daughter) [and with N. (and N.N.), for a new
brother (sister)]. Let us say together:

The service continues with the Magnificat or one of the Psalms on
pages 441-443.

The Celebrant addresses the congregation in these or similar words

Dear Friends: It has pleased God our heavenly Father to
answer the earnest prayers of N. [and N.], member(s) of this
Christian family, for the gift of a child. I bid you join with
them [and with N. (and N.N.), who now has a new brother
(sister)] in offering heartfelt thanks for the joyful and solemn
responsibility which is theirs by the coming of N. to be a
member of their family. But first, our friends wish us, here
assembled, to witness the inauguration of this new

The Celebrant asks the parent or parents

N. [and N.], do you take this child for your own?
Parent(s)I do.

440    Thanksgiving for a Child

Then if the child is old enough to answer, the Celebrant asks

N., do you take this woman as your mother?
ChildI do.
CelebrantN., do you take this man as your father?
ChildI do.

Then the Celebrant, holding or taking the child by the hand, gives the
child to the mother or father, saying

As God has made us his children by adoption and grace, may
you receive N. as your own son (daughter).

Then one or both parents say these or similar words

May God, the Father of all, bless our child N., and us who
have given to him our family name, that we may live together
in love and affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Celebrant says

Since it has pleased God to bestow upon N. [and N.] the gift
of a child, let us now give thanks to him, and say together:

Act of Thanksgiving

The Song of Mary

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
    for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
    the Almighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
    in every generation.

Thanksgiving for a Child    441

He has shown the strength of his arm, *
    he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
    and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, *
    and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
    for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, *
    to Abraham and his children for ever.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
    as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

or this

Psalm 116

I love the LORD, because he has heard the voice of my
                             supplication, *
because he has inclined his ear to me whenever I called
                             upon him.
Gracious is the LORD and righteous; *
    our God is full of compassion.
How shall I repay the LORD *
    for all the good things he has done for me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation *
    and call upon the Name of the LORD.
I will fulfill my vows to the LORD *
    in the presence of all his people.
In the courts of the LORD’S house, *
    in the midst of you, O Jerusalem.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
    as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

442    Thanksgiving for a Child

or this

Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd; *
    I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures *
    and leads me beside still waters.
He revives my soul *
    and guides me along right pathways for his Name’s sake.
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I shall fear no evil; *
    for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You spread a table before me in the presence of those
                             who trouble me; *
    you have anointed my head with oil,
    and my cup is running over.
Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the
                             days of my life, *
     and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
    as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

The Celebrant then says this prayer

Let us pray.

O God, you have taught us through your blessed Son that
whoever receives a little child in the name of Christ receives
Christ himself: We give thanks for the blessing you have
bestowed upon this family in giving them a child. Confirm
their joy by a lively sense of your presence with them, and
give them calm strength and patient wisdom as they seek to
bring this child to love all that is true and noble, just and
pure, lovable and gracious, excellent and admirable,
following the example of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving for a Child    443


The Celebrant may add one or more of the following prayers

For a safe delivery

O gracious God, we give you humble and hearty thanks that
you have preserved through the pain and anxiety of child-
birth your servant N., who desires now to offer you her praises
and thanksgivings. Grant, most merciful Father, that by your
help she may live faithfully according to your will in this life,
and finally partake of everlasting glory in the life to come;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the parents

Almighty God, giver of life and love, bless N. and N. Grant
them wisdom and devotion in the ordering of their common
life, that each may be to the other a strength in need, a
counselor in perplexity, a comfort in sorrow, and a companion
in joy. And so knit their wills together in your will and their
spirits in your Spirit, that they may live together in love and
peace all the days of their life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

For a child not yet baptized

O eternal God, you have promised to be a father to a
thousand generations of those who love and fear you: Bless
this child and preserve his life; receive him and enable him to
receive you, that through the Sacrament of Baptism he may
become the child of God; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

For a child already baptized

Into your hands, O God, we place your child N. Support him
in his successes and in his failures, in his joys and in his

444    Thanksgiving for a Child

sorrows. As he grows in age, may he grow in grace, and in
the knowledge of his Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Celebrant may then bless the family

May God the Father, who by Baptism adopts us as his
children, grant you grace. Amen.

May God the Son, who sanctified a home at Nazareth, fill
you with love. Amen.

May God the Holy Spirit, who has made the Church one
family, keep you in peace. Amen.

The Peace may be exchanged.

The Minister of the Congregation is directed to instruct the people, from
time to time, about the duty of Christian parents to make prudent
provision for the well-being of their families, and of all persons to make
wills, while they are in health, arranging for the disposal of their
temporal goods, not neglecting, if they are able, to leave bequests for
religious and charitable uses.

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