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
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."