were about seventy of us. Sunday lunchtime about 1230. Family baptism
for little Toby. I was about to become a godparent for the first time.
We trooped into the church, the nicotine-addicted using gravestones to
extinguish their last cigarette for, ooh, thirty minutes.
young woman welcomed us. She described herself as the curate, gave us
all small booklets and explained what was going to happen.
we sat around a low table looking at a large glass bowl full of water.
There was a lovely old stone font by the door but, apparently, it
went through a form of service, answering questions about turning to
Christ, renouncing this, repenting of that and rejecting something
else. Not words I often use I have to say, repent and renounce.
felt a bit distant really to tell the truth, even when I said the
responses properly. Toby got done. Then something happened.
curate woman lit a candle and said it signified that Toby had passed
from darkness into light. She gave it to me. Suddenly I realised that
Toby was so small and couldn't possibly repent or renounce and he was
only going to pass from one state to another if someone went with him.
Yet he had passed into the light. So that was a symbol. And it is now
my job, along with the other godparents and Toby's Mum and Dad to make
I had to address the question, did I believe what I had just said? Had
I turned to Christ? Was I in the light?
took me by surprise. Old church. This building will have seen hundreds
of christenings. Old routine. Babies have been being splashed for
years; an excuse for a family party and little more. I felt compelled
to ask afterwards how the curate woman felt about me having just said
things I wasn't really sure about.
said nothing. Simply handed me a postcard telling me about an Alpha