Rector's Letter - January 2018
January always brings with it that sense of fresh starts and new possibilities, and seems the ideal time to let you know about some new initiatives developing in our churches. The sacrament of baptism is one which also offers that sense of new start and opportunity, and we are excited in our staff team to have recently been exploring baptism over the last few months, and ways in which we wish to further offer support and connection through this special sacrament.
Most of you will know we always have special baptism preparation for any-one who brings a baby to be baptised – we invite parents and children to this. When possible, we gather together with several families to explore what baptism means and celebrate what will be happening on the baptism day itself. We get very good feedback from our parents about the preparation we give to this. Where that isn’t possible because a family can’t make the date or because a baptism comes along when there aren’t others taking place, we give individual baptism preparation to those families, and to all of them we offer ongoing support and connection. For instance, we send a baptism card on the first anniversary to let the family know we are remembering them in our prayers, and we encourage them to celebrate the day.
Recently we have introduced using the new and rather more friendly bap-tism liturgy that the Church of England produced, which is going down well, and we are seeking to establish at Minchinhampton and Box, and re-establish at Amberley, lay people on the baptism team who can offer visits to baptism families, make connections and offer support. We are also seeking ways in which we can involve and welcome back our baptism families to cel-ebrate this day.
One new initiative we are delighted about is that we are gathering a group together who are prepared to knit teddy bears to give to the babies and children who are baptised. It is a lovely gift to receive, a wonderful memory of the baptism day itself, and we also intend to invite baptism families and their teddy bears to a teddy bears picnic, so we can all celebrate together (great excuse for a party!).
We are still looking for more knit-ters – anyone who feels they could offer to knit teddy bears for us (pattern can be provided) please do get in touch with me.
It is also worth knowing that we do get requests from adults who have not yet been baptised and would like to do so. I am currently running some preparation sessions with someone and other are al-ways welcome. We will soon be looking into the opportunity for running some group sessions for those ex-ploring faith and wanting to learn more about it all: look out for details.
In the meantime, may I wish you all a Happy New Year, and new life and possibilities for you at this start of 2018.
With best wishes,