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Lovey-dovey baptism

30 May 2014

IT ALL started with one baby. As a rule, the Revd Lynda Newman, of St Teilo's, Tonmawr, near Neath, in Llandaff diocese, used a doll to teach the children at the primary school about baptism. Then a mother asked whether, instead of a doll, her baby could be baptised for real, with the children as witnesses.

That started the ball rolling, and more schoolchildren, siblings, and teachers also wanted to be baptised. In the end, there were no fewer than 15 candidates: eight pupils, two teachers, a baby, three former pupils, and a parent - all from a school with just 61 on its roll.

"It was absolutely wonderful, as it all just escalated," Mrs Newman says. "It's a small community school, and this really caught everyone's imagination. In the end, I had to hold a meeting, as there were so many people who wanted to be baptised. Parents saw it as a wonderful opportunity to have the whole family baptised."

All the children were given a welcome gift of a knitted dove, and the older ones received a felt dove, to symbolise the dove of love. The service in St Teilo's was followed by a celebration party at the school. The deputy head of Tonmawr Primary School, David Thomas, was among those baptised. "The church is a growing part of my life," he says, "and when I heard what was happening, I realised that it was something I wanted to do.

"This school has a great bond with the local church, and this joint baptism service is only going to strengthen that bond."

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