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Blessed with honey rather than baptised

20 July 2012

A PRIEST in Wales has devised a novel service of thanksgiving and blessing for the children of those who decide not to have their child baptised.

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 without."

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".


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