Author Archives: Arkangel

Christening, Baptism or What?

‘I’d like to get my baby done, Vicar!’ has been a very common request in parishes up and down the country. That request still goes on though I have to say in general people today will use the word Christening or Baptism. Many people, whether they regularly attend church or not, are still requesting something special in their children’s early life by asking for a Christening (or Baptism) the words are interchangeable.

At St Andrew’s and St Luke’s we are taking a fresh look at the best way in which to respond to these requests and help the parents and their families understand the implication of what they are entering into. In the Bible, baptism was clearly seen as a personal and public declaration, by adults, of their own desire to be a committed Christ-follower.

The Anglican Church has adopted the practice of not only baptising adults, but also their children, on the understanding that these children are brought up and nurtured to be Christ-followers.
Right at the beginning of the Baptism service we read the words:-
Children who are too young to profess the Christian faith are baptised on the understanding that they are brought up as Christians within the family of the church. As they grow up, they need the help and encouragement of that family, so that they learn to be faithful in public worship and private prayer, to live by trust in God and come to confirmation.

The implication of this paragraph is that whole families together will be involved in the regular worshipping life of the local church, so that the children understand better what it means to be a Christian, a Christ-follower.

In my experience, not just here in our two villages, but in most of the parishes I’ve ministered in, as a rule, this does not happen. One approach we could take is to say, Baptism, particularly infant Baptism, isn’t achieving what it sets out to achieve, therefore we’ll only baptise adults who show a real personal desire and commitment to becoming Christ-followers! However, our desire as churches is to discover, with you, how we can make the best sense of the Baptism promises that are made by, or on behalf of, those brought for Baptism.

You see, the baptism event is in itself symbolising the beginning of a life-long spiritual journey with other Christ-followers. So we would value your help as we seek the most effective way of journeying together into a deeper relationship with Christ. It makes little sense to baptise if there is no desire or real commitment to develop one’s relationship with Christ Jesus. How can we effectively nurture you and your children in growing as Christ-followers? It’s like joining a Gym or Golf Club then not going anywhere near it. You’ll not develop you expertise or get the benefits unless you do!!

We’d love you to join us on Monday 24th April, 7.30 pm in St Andrew’s Church so that we can together find the best way of fulfilling the baptism promises we make for ourselves and our children.

Easter Blessings & happy journeying to you all!
Mark East, Priest-in-Charge.

Share

A nostalgic look back

I’ve recently bought a tape console for my computer so that I can play the boxes of cassette tapes I have in my loft. Not only will it play them, but it can also convert them to digital files to store on my computer or copy onto CD’s to play in the car. It’s been quite a trip down memory lane listening to music ranging from Genesis, to Dire Straights, to Queen, to Supertramp. And then some more unusual or less well know musicians like Bob James, Earl Klugh, Michelle Shocked & Basia. Some of them you may know (if you were in your teens and twenties in the 70’s & 80’s), some you won’t! But what you’ll know will bring back quite powerful memories.

It amazes me how evocative music can be. When I listen to a particular track I can often be transported back to a particular event or moment. The memories are usually comforting, though there are some that are painful. But what tends to happen is that I go back into that memory with rose tinted glasses on. The past often appears better, but I easily forget the difficulties, trials and tribulations I went through. I forget the times I often said I can’t wait till .. Now much of what I couldn’t wait till…, has happened.

I guess for me the lesson is two fold.
1) Don’t wish your life away by thinking things are going to be better when! But make the most of every situation you find yourself in.
2) Don’t look back and wish you could return to when things seemed so much better. They probably weren’t, but rejoice in what you learned from them.

Jesus’s disciples were at a point like this in the time after His death and resurrection. He told them to wait for the promised Holy Spirit who would equip them to carry on the work that He had begun. I imagine it would have been quite tempting for them to look back to their life before Jesus became so influential to them. In fact there was an occasion, recorded in John 21, where they went back to what some of them knew before “fishing” and as they were fishing they had a resurrection encounter with Him. But they were not to go back. They were to keep moving forward, to keep in step with what Jesus wanted to do in and through them. Their wait was rewarded at Pentecost (Whitsun) when the Holy Spirit empowered them to go out and witness to the love and power of Jesus Christ.

We likewise, although we think life is better when we look back, have to have the courage to keep looking forward and welcome the things that God wants to accomplish in and through us. Jesus wants an encounter with all of us – are we willing to look to Him. Put your hand in Jesus’s hand and trust Him for the new thing He wants to do in and through you!!
Isaiah 43:18-19
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!
(from The Holy Bible: New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, by International Bible Society)

Share

Jesus – always here for us

We’ve been worshipping this morning and reminding ourselves from John 17 that Christ Jesus is on our side; He wants us to know Him (v.3), He reveals Himself (v.6) through His Word (v.17), the Bible; He wants us to know His protection (v.11); and to be in unity with Him (the Godhead) and our fellow believers (vs.22, 23).
Isn’t is good to know He’s there for us. Romans 8:34 says He’s doing even more. ‘Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.’
How can we ever cease to praise our living, loving heavenly Father for His abundant goodness and promises. Don’t ever forget that. He’s always here for us!! That’s a promise!

Share

God Speaking – His Voice

listening-to-god-1.jpg

The theme of this coming Sunday’s (29/07/07) service is the last in our series about how God speaks to us. We’ll be looking at passages from the Bible where He’s used an audible voice. What can we learn from these passages, and does He still speak in this way today? Have you ever experience His audible voice? Come and share with us on Sunday if you can, if not, let us know what you think about God speaking to you/us!

Share