Brief Review from the Amazon Site
is an astonishingly good book. Anyone who has the slighted interest in making
Baptism better than folk religion should study this.
It is, as the authors say, a "dip in" book. The excellent index is
sure to have the issue you are facing, and from that you will find excellent
cross references. For example Canon Law is set out under appropriate headings
enabling the reader to learn about reasons for delay, qualification of
Godparents, and even proxy godparents.
It has really helpful case histories setting out policies ranging from a
mandatory "Thanksgiving for all first" to a far more "open"
There is a lot about the choices available to parents between Thanksgiving and
Baptism with the pros and cons well set-out.
What I particularly like is the "flow charts" showing the progression
from first contact through to pilgrimage.
I could go on and on - but here is an admirably balanced book blending theology
and practice in a most sensitive way.
on Line Jan 6 09
of England launches campaign to counter steep decline in baptisms
By STEVE DOUGHTY
Last updated at 22:41 02 October 2007
Church of England has launched a campaign to make baptisms more popular after it
was revealed that the number has halved in 15 years.
than one in six of all infants is now baptised and in major cities the number
has fallen to one in ten.
A book of guidance is being sent to clergy asking
them to modernise their approach. One suggestion is that they make cohabiting
couples feel more welcome, with a view to encouraging them to
one in six children is now baptised
guide says: "For some families today, the baptism of a child represents an
opportunity for the first public acknowledgement of the parents' relationship.
Churches can use this as an opportunity to promote marriage."
over 15 per cent of babies were christened into the CofE in 2005. The total of
93,000 Anglican baptisms was just over half the 184,000 as recently as 1990,
the early 1930s seven out of ten of all children were baptised into the Cof E.
More than a third were still christened in the early 1980s. Latest figures show
that the popularity of christenings remains high in the countryside and some
provincial towns but that in
fewer than one in ten babies are baptised.
guidance, Connecting with Baptism, showed that the highest number of
christenings is in
, where more than 40 per cent of babies are baptised.
more infant baptisms as a proportion of births take place in rural dioceses such
," it said.
drop in baptisms mirrors a long-term decline in church attendance overall. The
CofE saw its figures for Sunday attendance drop below the million mark at around
the turn of the millennium. Roman Catholic churches in much of the country have
also seen a fall.
large-scale immigration from Eastern Europe has meant some Catholic churches in
are overflowing on a Sunday.
what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below?
As a committed Christian within the CofE I'm not at all
concerned that infant baptisms continue to fall - if that stops people with no
intention of living out the very serious promises they make at the baptism, and
yet are never seen again.
But I agree everyone should be made to feel welcome, and where a parent simply
wants to thank God for the new life, there is the Thanksgiving Service which
enables people to promise to help the child spiritually. Not a "second
class" baptism, but a first class alternative without perjury!
Baptism of the children of unbelievers means nothing, and the child is no better
or worse off. Far better to wait until the children can make the serious
promises themselves if they want to. That DOES mean something.
Christening/Baptism is an old fashioned concept. These days,
few people see the logic in Christening if they're not regular church going
It was once considered the "done thing", but with fewer and fewer
people being particularly religious this is being reflected in this downward
In any case, is it ethical to force baptism/christening onto a young person who
is not able to decide for himself whether or not he wishes to pursue such
beleifs? Better to let them wait till they're old enough to decide for
Ahh ... actually it isn't a campaign to make baptisms more
popular. The book is about the trends in
today, and its message really is that "baptism is about starting as you
mean to go on". If you really do want to be a follower of Jesus, then
repent and be baptized - if you don't, then don't, and be honest about it!
But what the book does try to do is to help churches meet the needs of those who
genuinely do want to investigate spiritual things, discover whether there is a
God, and find a relationship with him. That's what churches have always been
supposed to be about, and I hope the book will help us do it better.
, Eccleshill, Bradford,
, 03/10/2007 14:42