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You can't just invite everyone. (Am I wrong here?)

 
 
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2021 02:23 pm
My daughter gave birth to my first official blood granddaughter in March of this year. Since then my wife and I have been taking her to church with us for the past few months. Our pastor and first lady adore her and call her the church baby. She's 4 months old now and I had mentioned to our pastor that I wanted to get her blessed at some point. I'd like to get that done next month around her mother's birthday. She'll be 5 months old then. Ok, here's my dilemma. Since the pandemic our church has limited the number of members allowed into the sanctuary to about 50 or so. Even though restrictions are being limited our pastor still has not opened the church back up for full attendance. Yes, since things have started to go back to normal we have seen an upswing in the number of members filtering back in but we're still not at full capacity just yet. I come from a large family of 6 other brothers and sisters. Both of our parents are still alive and still married. There's also a host of other aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews in the family. My oldest sister is one of the baby's god-parents along with my daughter's best friend. My wife has 2 sons from her first marriage as well. My daughter has 5 other siblings herself on her mom's side. I was discussing it with my wife and I told her that we needed to limit who we invite because it would not be right or fair to the other members of the congregation if we tried to invite multiple people from the family to come which could fill up the number of seats in the congregation. The only ones I included were my daughter, my mom (the baby's great-grandma), my sister (the baby's great aunt and god-parent), and my daughter's best friend (the baby's other god-parent). I did not even consider inviting my other siblings nor my dad. Dad isn't as mobile these days so it would drain him too much to come. When I informed my wife the first thing she said was "what about her sons and one of her son's girlfriend?" I reminded her that again, we are limited on numbers and space and we just couldn't invite everyone. She said they are the baby's uncles and needed to be there and of course, the one son is going to bring his girlfriend. Again, my daughter has 5 other siblings who are also the baby's blood aunts and uncles and none of them are invited either. And a couple of them have kids themselves too. She seemed to have gotten offended by me not including her sons and the girlfriend. I didn't exclude them because I didn't want them there. It would be great if everyone could come but we have to limit the numbers as to not take up all the seats in the sanctuary. If I invited everyone then my family, my wife's sons and girlfriend, and my daughter's siblings would literally fill up the church so that no one else would be able to attend that Sunday's service. So church members would not even be allowed in.
However, our church services are streamed live online every Sunday so those who can't attend could just log in to see the christening. And if need be we could just replay the christening later in the day for those who weren't able to see it. Was I wrong to not invite everyone, including her sons and the girlfriend? I'm just trying to be mindful of those other members who want to come to church that day.

And let me say this. I posed this question on another board and got murdered because everyone thought I was just taking over and doing this outside of my daughter. Let me say this. My daughter is fully aware of what I am doing and she has no problem with it. My daughter's job has her working most Sundays so she'll bring the baby to my wife and my house and we take her to church with us. No big deal. Since the day she was born I have discussed with my daughter about wanting to get her christened/blessed in our church and she has no problem with it whatsoever. Again, my daughter is totally on board with this so I'm not overstepping any bounds. My thing is that with our church's current covid restrictions I don't want to invite the entire family, both sides, so that way none of the other regular church members will be allowed to attend that Sunday because the church may be at capacity. My pastor has not opened the church up fully yet to everyone. We are still limiting attendance to about 50 or so members. Am I wrong to not invite everyone, namely my step-sons and the girlfriend to this christening due to numbers and space? I didn't or haven't even planned to invite any of my siblings either. They too can watch the live stream that Sunday online.

Picture it this way. Think about all those couples who prior to 2020 had wedding plans for that year but when the pandemic hit they had to either postpone their weddings or totally downgrade and downsize the number of attendees they could invite or allow in any particular facility, be it a church, wedding hall, or what have you. How do you think those couples felt having to tell some people who were invited that they now could not attend due to restrictions? Do you think those people were angry they were uninvited or do you think they understood given the current circumstances? In my case, not everyone will be asked to attend the christening so it's not like they were ever invited to get uninvited. Again, I'm trying to be accommodating to other church members who just want to come to their regular church that Sunday. How do you think they would feel if they got to church that day and were turned away because the building was already at capacity due to a bunch of visitors coming to see a christening/blessing? And no, we can't do this after church or on a Sat. Christenings at our church are done during the Sunday morning service.

Am I completely wrong to not invite everyone?
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Type: Question • Score: 5 • Views: 532 • Replies: 26
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Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2021 02:33 pm
@Barry2021,
Did you ask the pastor his opinion? What his thoughts on as to how many people you can invite? That way you have it from his mouth that only x number of family members can attend and it is not on you.

The other thought is - if this is really important to your family - for some families this could be a big deal. Would the pastor be willing to do this outside either at your home or at the church (depending on how the grounds are and your outside is). Have a separate dedication/baptism or however you welcome a baby into your church a part from the normal church service.

Just some thoughts on how to compromise
Barry2021
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2021 03:09 pm
@Linkat,
I understand your comments but these types of ceremonies are typically done in church during regular services. Not like Catholic baptisms that could be done on a Sat and the only ones there are the family members. It's just not done in a black church. It's not about a baptism or sprinkling with water. It's more so anointing the baby with oil and praying over her. The baby's god-parents are required to be there because the pastor will read a charge to them as the god-parents. I want my mom there because this is her first and only great-grandchild. Yes, my wife will be there too. But again, we just can't invite everyone. That's how things get out of hand. By the time you let this person know then that person will find out and they want to come and 20 people will show up that Sunday wanting to be in attendance. I do not want to invite so many people / family members to be respectful to the other church members who are just coming to church for that Sunday's regular service. Again, our services are streamed live online and they all can log in and watch it live. I guess I'm just trying to be respectful to the other church members.
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2021 03:20 pm
@Barry2021,
My thoughts were along the lines of Linkat. Even if tradition holds that this is something that is done at regular services, the purpose of the tradition is to allow/encourage participation by the full family in Christ. You can't do that here. Either you exclude blood family or church family but you are still excluding someone. You are focused on being respectful to the other church members but your wife is trying to be respectful to your family. Both are important. Your pastor might have some more options, but I suggest you have a formal ceremony on Saturday with family and a reaffirmation on Sunday with the congregation. Another option would be to wait until Covid restrictions are lifted. We're likely talking a couple of months, not years.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2021 04:01 pm
@Barry2021,
Barry2021 wrote:

I understand your comments but these types of ceremonies are typically done in church during regular services.


Its up to you - but during times when things are completely different people have made changes.

There have been proms moved to outdoors, there have been weddings moved outside, there have been church services moved outdoors. And other sorts of changes to still have some larger important service and be able to invite others.

I fully understand as my church usually does these things during regular services as well - like a dedication - meaning you as parents plan on raising your child in the church and typically the congregation is a part of that.

Or some people will get baptized outdoors in a natural body of water even before covid.

So yes, I understand churches do things differently but they also make changes so they can accommodate and encourage faith for everyone to be involved.

You do seem a bit like our friend goldman here whereas you give viable options - you did not even address the other thing whereas you can ask your pastor to see if he says you need to limit people - thus it is on him and the church and not on you just making assumptions that people cannot attend. That might go better with your wife.

But alas it appears is that all you want is to have a group of people agree with you - that is not a way to solve a problem - instead working with your wife is a better way to solve the problem you could also put it on her and ask what she thinks - does she think we should invite everyone? And if so, would she want to check with the church to ensure that would be fine to do?
Barry2021
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2021 04:11 pm
@Linkat,
More insight.

The reason we can't just do this on a Sat or at night is because our church has been on the market for a number of years. We finally sold it to a company who plans to convert the building to something else. They are being ever so gracious to allow us to still use the building on Sundays for church services until we find a new location but since we no longer own the land or building we don't just have access to the building on Sunday. We can't just go there on a Sat for a special service when we no longer own the property. So this christening can and will only be done on a Sunday during regular service.
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jul, 2021 12:54 am
Can you not have two christenings if it's so important that all family members attend?

Or do it by Zoom?

It's just a christening. It's not a swearing in of a new King.
cherrie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jul, 2021 01:05 am
@Barry2021,
Is there any reason why it can't be done on a Sunday after the regular service?
Barry2021
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jul, 2021 09:37 am
@cherrie,
Because christenings are done during regular Sunday service.
0 Replies
 
Barry2021
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jul, 2021 09:41 am
@Mame,
You don't christen a baby twice. That's like being baptized again because some couldn't make it to the first one. We do live stream our services so those who aren't there can just log in and view it live. I'm not going to ask for all these special accommodations like a 2nd christening or doing it after church. The easiest and simplest solution is to have those who aren't there to just log in and view it live.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jul, 2021 10:04 am
@Barry2021,
Exactly as I stated - the OP is unwilling to compromise - he just wants confirmation of what he is saying is correct and that someone agrees with him.

To answer your question - yes you are wrong here -- not because of the statement "You can't just invite everyone" but because of your unwillingness to compromise or to do something a little different than what you want to do.

There are other options and you just will not even invite a different one - not even simply asking your pastor if there is another option and what his thoughts are - you know why? Because you do not really want or care what his thoughts and maybe because he might suggest something different to compromise - because then you would be put in a position to perhaps change what YOU want to do.
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jul, 2021 10:35 am
The simplest solution to me would be to have the christening after the service. That way regular church attendees could have their service and be told there would be a private christening after (so no lingering) and then the family could arrive for the christening.

You're making a mountain out of a molehill. As Linkat suggested, talk to your pastor about it.
0 Replies
 
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jul, 2021 11:55 am
If this is part of the service, then just the parents , immediate grandparents, & god parents and baby. This should be a sacred event, not a show.

Then have a celebration bash at your house or in a hall.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jul, 2021 12:18 pm
@PUNKEY,
PUNKEY wrote:

If this is part of the service, then just the parents , immediate grandparents, & god parents and baby. This should be a sacred event, not a show.

Then have a celebration bash at your house or in a hall.


The thing is to you not having a large gathering might feel like a show - for others this is important first step in a child's life (even an infant) and having a congregation and large family around is a symbol of supporting a child's beginning in faith - different faiths make a big deal out of this and for others it is more personal - neither is right or wrong - and what one's opinion of what constitutes sacred/faith/show is different for someone else.

That being said in unusual circumstances like we are having now - requires compromise and a change from the usual --- so it seems in this situation something will have to give - a compromise somewhere - to accommodate the individuals being impacted all around.

OP does not seem to want to compromise what he wants. So I do not think whatever suggestions we provide will go on death ears. Unless of course you say you agree 100% with him and his wife is being completely unreasonable.
Barry2021
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jul, 2021 01:21 pm
@PUNKEY,
And that's what I'm trying to do, only invite those who need to be there. My daughter, the god-parents, and then my mom (the baby's great-grandmother and matriarch of the family). It's not a show, trust me. It's a religious ceremony, but due to covid and current restrictions we are limited with how many we can have in the sanctuary. There's a ton of my family who aren't invited and none of the siblings from my daughter's side either. I'm not just excluding my wife's sons and girlfriend I'm excluding everyone who doesn't absolutely need to be there. The service will be live streamed so everyone can log in and see it. It is so much easier to only invite those necessary to the service than to invite everyone then ask the pastor for special accommodations like a second service after the regular service or even a special service on a Sat.
Barry2021
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jul, 2021 01:34 pm
@Linkat,
I'm unwilling to compromise? How is that fair when I've mentioned several times that I'm willing to only invite those necessary to the program while others can watch it on live stream? We can't just take over the entire congregation because Uncle John, or Aunt Becky wants to be there. They can watch it on live stream. Uncle John or Aunt Becky will have no speaking parts. Nor are they god-parents. You feel that the only compromise should be from my pastor and the church when I'm thinking the compromise needs to be more so on my family. I do not want to ask for special treatment given current covid restrictions simply because 30 people want to just come and look.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jul, 2021 03:01 pm
@Barry2021,
Barry2021 wrote:

I'm unwilling to compromise? How is that fair when I've mentioned several times that I'm willing to only invite those necessary to the program while others can watch it on live stream? We can't just take over the entire congregation because Uncle John, or Aunt Becky wants to be there. They can watch it on live stream. Uncle John or Aunt Becky will have no speaking parts. Nor are they god-parents. You feel that the only compromise should be from my pastor and the church when I'm thinking the compromise needs to be more so on my family. I do not want to ask for special treatment given current covid restrictions simply because 30 people want to just come and look.


Because that is what you want. You do not want to ask your pastor, you do not want to invite anyone else, you do not want to do anything else about this christening other than what was done before.

Your wife wants otherwise - and you are (or at least seem to be) unwilling to consider another alternative. Not one of us suggested taking over the entire congregation. I suggested talking with your pastor of his opinion. I even said if the pastor says he cannot do otherwise then you have (in a sense) an out - that it is your pastor that is in a position not to allow more people.

Never once did I infer or suggest that this should impact the congregation or they need to change anything at all - simply if your pastor had a suggestion. He may or he may not be able to accommodate any more people, he may or may not be able to a quick separate service immediately following the regular Sunday service as someone else suggested, but at least you would know.

It would be quite simple - explain to the pastor that your wife would like your entire family of x number of people to attend the christening because it is important to her. You understand fully that this would cause an issue due to covid and under these circumstances is there anything that can be done, if not you fully understand and appreciate his thoughts.

It really is not that hard. I mean you have to arrange the christening a head of time with him any way. And then you can go back to your wife and let her know the outcome.

Or don't and continue in your screwed up way of dealing with any conflict in your marriage - by doing whatever the heck you each want without consideration of the other.
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jul, 2021 05:56 pm
@Barry2021,
Why is it up to you, anyway? You're not the granddad. Your daughter should be the one talking to the pastor.

You seem to inveigle your way into everything. You sound like a controller.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jul, 2021 06:26 pm
@Mame,
Mame wrote:

Why is it up to you, anyway? You're not the granddad. Your daughter should be the one talking to the pastor.

You seem to inveigle your way into everything. You sound like a controller.


Yep exactly it seems he wants it his way
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jul, 2021 06:30 pm
@Linkat,
I mean to say, 'you're ONLY the granddad'... why is he so involved in his daughter's and granddaughter's lives? Doesn't he have his own?
 

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