And they kept coming…..

It’s not often that we have standing room only at St A’s even at major festivals.  The CWs were rather caught out and I was amused to see them squeezing the last few people into an already bulging church.  I loved it but I am not so sure the  rest of the congregation enjoyed having their space invaded. We are not overwhelmed by baptisms here so I am still able to have them in the main morning service.  I think it is important for both the families and for the congregation.  That way the child gets a proper welcome into the family of the church and the main congregation get a reminder of their baptism.  So far I have managed to resist the pressure to do private baptisms on a Sunday afternoon.

Now our congregtion knows what a really full church feels like.  My only regret is putting the baptisms into a family communion.  Even with explaining very carefully at every stage what was going on there weren’t many more taking communion than there is usually.  Out of a church of 120 about 50 took communion with small numbers coming for a blessing.

This makes me a bit sad.   I have something so precious that I can give them, a love that passes all understanding, and perhaps that is the rub; I’m not sure that folks fully understand what they are rejecting.  Is that down to my poor teaching?  I don’t think so. Only the Spirit can convict our hearts.

In the ‘sermon’ I had all the children sat on kneelers in the chancel and I read from Quentin Blakes book ‘We all join in’.  We had fun looking at the quirky pictures and the congregation had fun with the children in shouting out the refrain, ‘We all join in’.  Except we didn’t! 

Here’s hoping that the love of God touched the hearts of the folks in other ways this Sunday.

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One Response to And they kept coming…..

  1. ric says:

    For large family baptisms I’ve started offering separate services, though it goes against the theological grain. In our small village churches they overwhelm the regular congregation who feel a bit pushed out. And since I am the only priest in the Benefice of 11 churches, baptisms have tended to be celebrated within the Sunday morning Eucharist – or even a BCP Holy Communion, with the result of blank expressions from the christening family as we get to the heart of the worship. I’ve even had some start to get up and leave at the offertory thinking that their part was all over. (They were swiftly disabused of that understanding!)
    In the few separate baptisms I’ve now done the families are much more at ease and I’m able to spend more time explaining the meaning of all the symbolism that takes place in the sacrament.
    The result? They’re happy. The regular congregation is happy. I just have to wait a bit longer for my lunchtime sherry!

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