‘Godparents last a lifetime’: A blog by the Revd Canon Dr Sandra Millar

Published: Tuesday May 14, 2024

The Revd Canon Dr Sandra MillarThe Revd Canon Dr Sandra Millar, Director of Mission and Ministry, blogs about what it means to be a godparent.

“I remember being at a birthday party for a 90-year-old. I was talking to the guests and asking about their connection to the host. One of them was a 75-year-old who proudly said, ‘She’s my godmother’. This was a relationship that had lasted 75 years – longer than most marriages, because when you become a godparent, it’s a relationship that will last a lifetime.

“For some it’s a very active relationship which involves lots of contact, whether it be in person or online, through cards sent or by prayers offered. Sadly, in some cases it tails off and contact is lost – but at least prayers can always be offered, even if the conversational opportunities have ended.  Godparents can also be a very special constant during the happy times and the hard times of family life, through sickness, bereavement, divorce and changes.

“It’s such a privilege to be asked to be a godparent, and its special to everyone involved. It’s special to families, and in the research done by the Church of England around the baptism of a child, having good godparents was one of the most significant factors for parents when planning a christening. They choose people who are going to be there for a lifetime, reflect good values and spend time with their child.

“As Sandie Reeves, godmother to 11 children between ages 26 and 3, explained, it’s special to the child as well:

“They have someone who they can depend on to encourage and love them, as well as having someone else to love. It is a middle ground between family and friends and provides them with another support system.”

“Sandie keeps in touch with cards, annual Advent calendars, and conversations about faith. And it’s special for godparents themselves. Whether married or single, it’s an opportunity to spend time creatively with godchildren. Sandie’s sharing of God’s love is one which they might not have received had they not had Sandie as a godmother, or had they not had a godmother at all. There are lots of ideas about what it means to be a godparent here.

“It’s a relationship that churches can support and encourage. When there is a baptism on a Sunday morning, ask those present to put up their hands if they are already a godparent or a godchild, then find out how long that relationship has lasted. Usually, there is someone with a 50-year-old godchild.  Then honour the new godparents by explaining the significance of what they are about to do.

“As congregations, we can also include godparents in our prayers, and acknowledge their significance at different times. Some churches organise special Sundays with a focus on godparents and godchildren coming along together. Or, they simply include them in invitations to regular events, from toddler groups to worship activities, from Messy Church to fun family days.

“Above all, encourage godparents to pray. You can buy simple fridge magnets encouraging prayer, or you could create a godparents’ prayer tree in your church.

“However you do this, it’s a great relationship to honour, encourage and celebrate.”


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