Baptisms or Naming Ceremonies

Whether you want a naming ceremony or a baptism, I can perform either as I am a certified celebrant as well as a minister of religion.


Naming Ceremonies

People often ask what a Naming Ceremony is. The simplest answer is that it is a welcome to the world for a new family member. And a celebration with family and friends of which the ceremony is part.

Photo of Neale Family Naming Ceremony (secular baptism)

Neale Family Naming Ceremony

A new member of the family is welcomed:

  • to the immediate family
  • to the wider family (including grandparents, aunts, uncles etc)
  • to friends of the family
  • and to wider Australian society

The first part of the ceremony is generally like an ever-widening zoom lens.

At first the focus is on the child. Then we zoom out to the parents and the child; then to the grandparents, parents and child; and finally to the godparents and everybody present who represent wider Australian society. It often includes readings – which are short poems, or pieces of prose – by family, godparents/mentors, and friends. Of course, I am always happy to be involved in readings, if family and friends decline to do so.

At the end of this first section, the parents take the child around to everybody present so that they can welcome him or her to the world.

The second part of the ceremony is the naming. Many people(s) see a person’s name as the source of that person’s identity and strength. In this part of the ceremony the parents announce the name of the child, and everybody confirms the name of the new family member.


Naming Ceremony FAQs

At what age does a Naming Ceremony take place?

Naming Ceremonies are usually performed during the first 18 months of a child’s life, although they can be done for older children (and on some occasions for adults).

Image of baptism of cute babyHow long does a ceremony last?

A naming ceremony will run for about 30 minutes, although the flow is (more often than not) determined by the child whose naming ceremony it is, as well as the other children present.  It also depends on the readings and other parts of the ceremony included (or not) by the parents.

The presence of numbers of children generally makes them very happy occasions, enjoyed by all present, especially if refreshments or a meal are served afterwards.

What time of day do we have these ceremonies?

Most naming ceremonies tend to take place either just before morning or afternoon tea (10.00 am or 3.00 pm), or before lunch (11.00 am or 11:30 am).

There are no hard and fast rules about this. It’s whatever works for you!

Where do we have these ceremonies?

Generally, Naming Ceremonies (and Christenings) tend to take place at home or in a park.

They work best out-of-doors; but (as with weddings) there always needs to be a wet weather plan.  The Gold Coast City Council has many fine parks around the Gold Coast. But you will need to contact the City Council, and a fee may be payable depending on how many people are attending.

To apply for the use of a park, please go to the Gold Coast City Council website and select “Book a Park”. Then complete the relevant form ensuring you have read the “Terms and Conditions”. For further information or personal assistance,  please contact Parks & Recreational Services by phoning (07)5581 6984 or email


Baptisms or Christenings


Christenings are essentially religious ceremonies.

While a Christening ceremony usually takes place in a church, and is presided over by the minister or priest of the particular church, it does not have to be. It can be included as part of a naming ceremony on a nondenominational basis.

A typical Baptism or Christening

A typical Baptism or Christening

A Christening takes the purpose of the naming ceremony a step further.  We could say that the christening or baptism is a welcome to the Universe. To use the zoom lens analogy again, this extends the focus right out to include the whole Cosmos.

The point about christenings – or the sacrament of baptism, to use its proper name – is that anyone may baptise. The essential matter of the sacrament is that water is poured three times on the forehead of the recipient, and the person doing the baptising must say, “[Name], I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Under normal circumstances, most churches would recognise such a non-denominational baptism. But some institutions may require a formal Welcoming or Admission to that particular institution.

Baptism may be performed at any age. (Although this ceremony is essentially about the welcoming of infants and young children to the world.)


Baptism / Christening FAQs

The FAQs about Naming Ceremonies above also apply to Baptisms and Christenings.


If you have any other questions please contact me by phone or e-mail.


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