A PRIEST in Wales has devised a novel service of thanksgiving
and blessing for the children of those who decide not to have their
The Revd Aidan Coleman, Vicar of Holy Trinity, Greenfield, puts
some mild honey in or under the child's lip, and says a Celtic
prayer: "We pray that your life may never be sour. May your life
bring sweetness to the world, redressing its sourness and
bitterness. Dear God, keep joy within, keep bitterness
Mr Coleman said that the service of thanksgiving in the Church
in Wales Prayer Book was "a bit thin, and I've built it up a bit".
He described the honey as "an alternative, naturally occurring
product that can be used in a sacred way". He said that he had
conducted about 150 such services.
Mr Coleman said that the service "isn't an alternative to
baptism, but is maybe the first step towards baptism". He said that
parents who opted for the service might not want to commit
themselves to a baptism service, which speaks of a greater
"connection with the Church". Parents "appreciate the opportunity
to be a little more honest", he said.
The service has not received approval from everyone, however.
Speaking to The Leader newspaper last month, Richard
Jones, whose great-grand-daughter was offered a honey service
instead of a traditional christening, described the service as "a
load of rubbish". Mr Jones said that Mr Coleman refused "to use
holy water to cleanse our great-grand-daughter from sin, and [allow
her] entry into the Church, because her parents don't go to church.
You don't have to be a churchgoer to be a Christian."
But Mr Coleman said that, having conducted about 150 honey
services, he had found most people were "very happy" with them. He
said that his bishop had been "very supportive".