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CEN Reports  

Christening switched to pub after church ban

WHEN ecclesiastical regulations forced the cancellation of a baptism in church, the christening was switched to the local pub.  Nine-week-old Luke Thornton was baptised using water from the ladies' loo at his mum and dad's local in Pontefract, in the Wakefield diocese, after a communication hiccup meant the service had to be moved only an hour before it was due to begin.

Mum Sam, 28, and dad Alexander, 20, had planned to have Luke baptised at All Saints Pontefract.  They spent weeks arranging the event and invited 40 relatives and friends.  But 60 minutes before the christening they were told that legally the Celtic Orthodox service they had arranged could not go ahead in the Church of England building because it only allowed Anglican baptisms.  

So they frantically contacted Robin Hood landlord Dave Smith.  He agreed - and parents, baby and guest quickly switched venue.  Luke’s bath was brought from home to act as a makeshift font and he was baptised by Orthodox Bishop Stephen Robson of York in the pub tap room.  

The hour-long service went without a hitch in front of a pub packed with bemused imbibers.   Luke’s mother said  “I had to fill the bath from a tap in the ladies' loo.- Everything went well.   Luke was cheerful and smiled all the time – apart from a little cry when he was dunked in the water  

Bishop Stephen said: “Everyone at the Robin Hood respected the baptism.  Drinkers even stopped smoking and turned the music off”  

Reproduced by permission from the Church of England Newspaper March 2007  

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