Monday, January 03, 2011

A promise kept

Great excitement at the vicarage yesterday, as for once (probably the first time since I found myself doing such things at all) the first Baptism of the year took place before the first Funeral...I tend to do a fair number of both, but it always feels as if the funerals far out-number baptisms, whatever the statistics may say - largely, I'd guess, because there is generally a much deeper connection with those whom I meet in the context of bereavement, when there is little room or energy for pretence. I love officiating at all the "occasional offices" but too often the happier the event, the weaker the bond forged with the family. I believe with all my heart in having a totally open and unconditional baptism policy - how could I do otherwise? it's God's church, not mine! - and I recognise that this can mean that families come through our doors for Baptism when it's most unlikely they will forge lasting bonds with the church.
Yesterday, though, was a splendid exception. Baby William's baptism at lunchtime was a delight as his whole family were really focussed on what was happening...They responded when invited to, listened (and commented on) the address, and were pretty much a dream congregation, really. They even said, as they left "See you soon..." and I dared to believe that I might.

What I didn't expect was that, after all the excitements of a baptism and a family celebration afterwards, they would make the effort to return to church that evening to join us for our Epiphany Carol Service....but there they were, baby, parents and a clutch of other family members, holding their candles and singing with enthusiasm. They even stayed for mince pies afterwards, - but they can't have known what a difference their presence made to the way the New Year started. So very grateful!


gloriousthings said...

Oooh. Like the new look.

Songbird said...

Oh, how lovely!!! (And the blog template, too.)

Richard Gillin said...

Lovely that they came that evening - perhaps a true epiphany for them!

Am sure it was the address that inspired them - always enjoy reading yours online!

Kathryn said...

Thanks, you lovely encouraging people :)
New look was an accident, in a desperate attempt to move to "new blogger" so that I could comment on the newer blogs of my failed but I suppose that after 6 years of the same blog format it was time for a change anyway. The background is a picture of the south aisle at Gloucester Cathedral as the sun filtered through the stained glass.