Really interesting article. Unfortunately, it is not in the free section of the Church Times so you`ll have to read what is available through titusonenine.
I fully agree with the author. This is something that I`m wrestling with. Wouldn`t it simply be better, in the context of using Common Worship, to promote “Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child” amongst those who feel the need to “culturally” have their children presented in church?
In all my years as a parish priest, I advocated — indeed, insisted —
that “it is desirable that every minister having the cure of souls
shall normally administer the sacrament of Holy Baptism on Sundays at
public worship when the most number of people come together” (Canon
B21: Of Holy Baptism).
Yet now, in retirement, as I approach our parish church, and see the festive gathering — I wonder….
Sunday by Sunday, the faith is being sold cheap, and the opportunity
for patient and welcoming pastoral teaching before Baptism (as allowed
by Canon B22 (4)) is being lost. Elsewhere, evangelists may be dancing
to the tune of Fresh Expressions of Church in all sorts of courageous
innovations, but these popular Sunday jamborees are invitations to
Perjury is a punishable offence, and yet we clergy who put the question
“Do you turn to Christ?” could be accused of inciting it. It is no
wonder that thoughtful members of our congregations become distressed
at what they see; for solemn vows are being made, when it is often
quite clear from the body language and the tone of the responses that
the parents and godparents are doing no more than follow the script
that has been put into their hands.
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