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Welcome to Baptism - Journey of a Lifetime
Carol Snipe reviews a recent video

This 22-minute video has been produced by Grayswood Studio in Guildford Diocese, and is intended for use with parents seeking baptism for their children

The video Is presented by Roger Royle, and for me, gets off to a bad start when Roger tells us he always feels nervous going into church, which simply does not ring true. The overall impression of the whole video I feel is backward looking and old fashioned churchy. Although we do see the interior of a modern building, the exteriors shown are all grey stone traditional, and robes are ever-present during the liturgy. The choice of music continues this impression with three old hymns included. Likely to be best known is "All things bright and beautiful", and the accompaniment is the church organ.

Perhaps all this tradition is intended to balance the use of the new baptism liturgy, which is quite clearly set out, so that parents watching the video will have a very good idea of what is expected of them in practical terms during the service. Less good is the explanation of spiritual expectations which may be raised. A number of lay people are seen discussing their reasons for having their children baptised, and these are at least realistic if not very enlightening. I would have liked to see at least one explanation which was a little more articulate, but I suspect that this was not what was being aimed at.

It is good to see the baptising done in a congregational context, with the welcome all included, and it struck me that in those places where this does not generally happen the new liturgy will be even less meaningful than the old. It will also be less adaptable for a "private" service than the old one was.

The significance of the Cross and the importance of water are discussed, and baptism is seen as the beginning of a journey. The idea of growing up within the life of the church is proposed, and it is stated that there is a commissioning to fulfil duties, but what these duties are is not specified. However, a context of family faith is suggested and we see a discussion about praying together as a family, which may be useful to parents who have never tried this.

The overall impression is welcoming, and not obstructive, which must be a good thing; but the glimpses we get of church life are unlikely to attract anyone other than traditionalists. We can only hope that when they get into their own local church there is something more connected to today and living the Christian life in the real world. I would also have liked to see mention of a Thanksgiving and Blessing Service as an option, and would have liked to see something a little stronger by way of the expectation of appropriate preparation prior to baptism. On the whole I was disappointed, but the new liturgy is at least clearly set out, and no doubt it will be used to good effect in some places. 

See also - CPAS DVD
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