Brett Trenery, New South Wales regional Meeting
Quakers have special meetings to celebrate import milestones in life. We have memorial and funeral meetings to remember the life of deceased Friends and meetings to celebrate the marriages and commitment ceremonies of Friends.
Both important life events are important to note and celebrate. What we seem to lack is a meeting to celebrate the start of a life, perhaps the most important milestone of them all. This seems to be an unfortunate omission
I propose we remedy this with a meeting to celebrate the birth of a new person in our community. I imagine this as simple Meeting for Worship held in the Meeting House or home or other suitable place.
After the Meeting has centered down in silence and when the parents or guardians feel the spirit is moving, they introduce the little one to the Meeting by name and possibly carry the child around the meeting to allow everyone to meet the new life amongst us. A babe in arms would be carried and an older child could perhaps walk, led by parents or grandparents or guardian.
As with other Meetings, there should be no rigid formula for this but a Meeting developed by the parents in consultation their Local or Regional Meeting. Like other Meetings marking milestones in life, this Meeting would need some extra preparation as there may be people attending who have no experience of Quakers or a Quaker meeting.
After the young one has been introduced, others present may feel moved to offer a few words of blessing, congratulations, or encouragement as Friends may do at a wedding or funeral.
I stress I am not suggesting a sacrament nor a baptism nor a christening no more than a Quaker wedding or commitment ceremony is a sacrament. It just gives the Meeting a chance to celebrate a new life in our community.
If anyone wishes to discuss this with me or make any comments, please contact me at brett.trenery[at]bigpond.com.