One of the trademark causes of orthodox Anglicanism in North America today is the commitment to the pro-life cause. Romans and Reformed, Protestants and Pentecostals, Brethren and Baptists, all conservative Christians are concerned about the evils of murder that urge on the abortion industry. Often we are accused of being hypocrites, only really being “pro-birth” and leaving the children of the poor to their fate. Occasionally that is true, especially when you look at the many politicians who only use causes such as the pro-life cause primarily to prop up their re-election campaigns among conservatives… being pro-life in name only is indeed a sham.

But, of course, the Church as a whole is indeed consistently pro-life, however imperfectly aberrant individuals may demonstrate that. One of the particular expressions of this truth in our Prayer Book (which I think is often over-looked) is the Thanksgiving for the Birth or Adoption of a Child. In classical Prayer Books it was often referred to as “The Churching of Women” and it focused more on welcoming the mother back to church after being away for the latter weeks of her pregnancy and giving thanks for her survival. Modern edits to the rite have expanded it to be a bit more flexible to the varied family situations we’re likely to see on the ground today: adoptions, single parents, difficult circumstances.

This rite reminds us that children are gifts from God – all life is sacred.  The Church proclaims and celebrates this truth even amidst the devastating difficulties that can accompany pregnancy and birth. You can read the 2019 Prayer Book’s form of it here, and this Customary’s walk-through of how to implement it here:

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