Dedication of children to God was practiced in biblical times and is practiced today in many churches. Hannah dedicated her child, Samuel, to God and to the service of His house (1 Sam 1:27, 28). Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple in "Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord" (Luke 2:22). The Seventh-Day Adventist Church is true to this practice and still follows it today.
The four basic purposes of the infant dedication service is to:
Christening is the old word for baptism, which is why Adventists and some other churches that don't baptize babies use the term Baby Dedication. Some Seventh-day Adventist Church also refer to the service as a Baby Blessing instead of Baby Dedication. Adventists practice baby dedication (not infant baptism, since baptism is meant to be practiced by people who are capable of knowing what they are doing and making a conscious decision to be baptized) and anointing of the sick. Usually the pastor will have dates set aside on his calendar for such services but some pastors are open and willing to accommodate the parents at any time.
The purpose of the ceremony is for the parents or legal guardians to publicly declare their intent to train their child to know the Lord. Proverbs 22:6 is often quoted: "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it." God-parents are not required to participate. To begin the ceremony, the pastor will invite the family involved to come forward with their child(ren). This may consist of any or all family members present, close friends and god-parents, if applicable.
The regular scheduled time for baby dedication is the third Sabbath (Saturday) of each month during the main service. However, arrangements outside this schedule can be made by contacting our Church Clerk or the pastors. On this occassion the format is the pastor will invite the parent/s to come to the altar with the baby or child along with friends and other family members attending at that time. Usually the pastor conducting the dedication will asks questions to the parents that require a response in the affirmative regarding their intent to rightly train their child and to set godly examples, etc.
He will then ask members of the congregation if they promise to be supportive of the child and parents. They answer in the affirmative. The pastor will then take the baby, offer a prayer to dedicate him to the Lord and ask God's favor and blessing on him/her, parents and others who will be involved in the child's development. At the end of the dedication the parents and child are presented with gifts designed to help them in rearing their child according to God's plan and desires. The child does not become a member of the church.
The family is then invited to continue to worship with us or they may quietly leave. We however hope both parent/s and child will continue to build a meaningful relationship with us and with God.