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Baptism in the main Sunday service

17 August 2012


Sir, - My son recently decided to hold a naming ceremony for his new baby, and I was, at first, quite upset. My wife and I would have much preferred a church baptism. Since attending a baptism at a local church, we have changed our minds. My son and his partner were absolutely right to organise a simple ceremony that featured the child as the focus of the proceedings.

The deciding factor was the way baptism has been tacked on to the general service as an afterthought, mentioned once at the start of the service, and then totally ignored until it featured as an add-on just before the end. No thought was given to the choice of readings: the Old Testament verses referred to David's sexual assault of Beersheba and the orchestrated murder of her husband! The sermon totally ignored the child and parents, and the whole procedure seemed impersonal, and showed a marked lack of interest on the part of the church. Time, I feel, for some training sessions and information sheets for incumbents and churchwardens.

Is this really the way in which the C of E wants to greet and welcome new members to the family of Christ? Unfortunately, my experience of baptism in a variety of churches shows that it is. Lumping the rite of baptism on to the end of the Sunday service has allowed lazy and slipshod practice that takes little or no account of the individuals and families involved.


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