Christening in the USA, Canada, Australia etc. 
Posted: 20 January 2014 07:16 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi Guys. Can anyone tell me if the word ‘christening’ is used outside the UK, in other English speaking countries, and does it mean the same as it does here - another word for ‘baptism’. Thanks!

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Posted: 20 January 2014 07:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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It is so used in Australia.

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Posted: 20 January 2014 07:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Also in the US.

In addition, it is often used for the act of giving a name, even when not accompanied by a baptism, and even to an inanimate object, such as a ship.

BTW, welcome to the forum.

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Posted: 20 January 2014 07:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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They are loosely the same when talking about a church ceremony that involves a baby, water, etc.  However, in the Catholic church people receive the sacrament of Baptism and the ceremony is not called a christening.  I say this a an American lay Catholic, and I don’t know what church doctrine says about the matter.

You can also “christen a yacht” but not baptize one, and you can be “baptized by fire” but not christened by it.

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Posted: 20 January 2014 08:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Beachgirl - 20 January 2014 07:16 AM

Hi Guys. Can anyone tell me if the word ‘christening’ is used outside the UK, in other English speaking countries, and does it mean the same as it does here - another word for ‘baptism’. Thanks!

Among most Protestants, the word is not used with any regularity. It is, however, used a lot in my Catholic family and, for them, it means the same thing as baptism.

technically, “to Christen” is to make Christian--to “convert.” So one can refer to the “christening” of entire countries. One would not use baptism in that sense.

The Christening of a Ship is used in a transferred sense.

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Posted: 20 January 2014 09:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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It depends on the church.  In the denomination that I was raised in, a christening is the equivalent of a “churching” in other traditions.  It is the first time that the baby is brought to church.  Baptism follows later, usually in the tweens.

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Posted: 21 January 2014 02:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Thanks guys, that’s really interesting. It sounds like it has a similar range of meanings and debates as it has over here - some like it, some hate it! Donkeyhotay - that’s an interesting way of using ‘christening’, like ‘churching’. Do you mind me asking which denomination that is? I think I like it - my denomination (Church of England) hasn’t used the churching service for about 50 years (I sometimes speak to an old lady who had it when she was younger, but it’s pretty rare); it’s a shame not to have something to mark that moment now that baptism/christening is being done so much later than it used to be. Interesting that some of you from Catholic backgrounds use it and others don’t. I have some family who are Catholic, and they say Catholics never use it here in the UK - I guess everyone sees it as Anglican. Anyway, thanks for everyone’s ideas!

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Posted: 21 January 2014 06:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Hi Beachgirl - welcome to the merry throng.

Among denominations that prefer to practise adult baptism, infants are often ‘dedicated’. This is certainly true of Baptist churches, some Pentecostal churches and some independent churches in the UK. Dedication can be anything from the minister praying over the infant at the front of the church to quite a complex ceremony, in effect an infant baptism but without the water. Practices seem to vary between denominations and between individual congregations.

For the record, I’m a member of the Church of Scotland, which generally practises infant baptism and calls it baptism, not christening, but I’ve been around other denominations a bit in the past.

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Posted: 21 January 2014 06:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Beachgirl, I was raised in the Disciples of Christ.  I still have my christening certificate somewhere, which my late mother left me.

Some years ago I converted to Eastern Orthodoxy, and last year I was ordained Deacon.  We still practice the Churching, also called a 40-day Blessing, for the mother and child.

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Posted: 21 January 2014 06:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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technically, “to Christen” is to make Christian--to “convert.”

That’s the etymological origin, not the current meaning, technical or otherwise.

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Posted: 21 January 2014 09:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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a christening is the equivalent of a “churching” in other traditions.  It is the first time that the baby is brought to church

Which is confusing, because in the Church of England churching is nothing to do with the baby, who is not even necessarily present. It is a rite of blessing and thanksgiving for the mother’s surviving the birth (although it clearly derives from the Jewish ritual purifying the woman from the ‘defilement’ of childbirth).

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Posted: 21 January 2014 12:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Which is confusing, because in the Church of England churching is nothing to do with the baby, who is not even necessarily present.

I’m sorry, I did not realize that.  I just assumed the Anglican churching was like the Orthodox.  A short description can be found here.

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