Investing in our engagement with baptism families to spark an amazing adventure with Jesus Christ
In 2016 we welcomed 1,665 children to baptism in this diocese with their families. This is good news. Good news that families celebrating new life still naturally turn to the church, in confident expectation of a welcome as they seek to share their joy and find life in all its fullness for themselves and their children. It is good news – but also demanding. It brings with it the responsibility to live up to their expectations through welcome, hospitality, preparation and worship, and to share with them our faith and belief that that fullness of life is found ultimately in Jesus Christ.
This is why ‘Investing in our engagement with baptism families to spark an amazing adventure with Jesus Christ’ is a priority in the Diocese of Gloucester’s LIFE vision. It connects with the national ‘Christening initiative’ and is part of Diocesan commitment to being imaginative in creating new pathways to faith. I am now writing with two invitations to every PCC in our diocese:
- I invite you to spend 15 – 20 minutes at a forthcoming PCC to reflect together on how baptism ministry is currently practiced in your parish, celebrating good news and current practice and beginning to explore possibilities for the future.
- I invite you to identify one or two people from your parish to attend a training event on baptism ministry in April or May – details at the end of this letter.
Invitation to reflect together as a PCC on baptism ministry in your parish
Alongside this letter you will find some resources which will equip you to spend 15-20 minutes as a PCC reflecting on your baptism ministry, celebrating current practice, and beginning to explore possibilities for the future. These resources include some background reading for each PCC member to read prior to the meeting, and a ‘Power Point’ presentation, (which you can print and share if you don’t have facilities for this).
To reflect on this together as a PCC, you will need a leader for the discussion – this doesn’t have to be your incumbent. There are notes included to help whoever takes up this role. If your parish has a baptism preparation team already – or others involved in this ministry – it would be good to invite them to share in this discussion. Similarly it might be good to see if a representative of your church school can be present if you have one. It would be good to hold this conversation prior to attending the training events.
Invitation to training events
I will be hosting a number of learning events for those involved in baptism ministry in April and May. At these events we will learn more about national Christening resources, and ways to maintain relationships with christening families, and hear good news stories about how initiatives are working in parishes across this diocese.
My hope is that from your discussion at your PCC you can identify one or two people to attend this training. If you already have people involved in this ministry, please do invite them to attend. It would be good if they were able to bring reflections from your PCC conversation, and be prepared to share what they learn from the training with you and others in the congregation afterwards.
The training sessions have been arranged for:
- Tuesday 24 April, 2pm to 4pm, Church Rooms, Chipping Camden
- Saturday 28 April, 10am to 12 noon, St Andrew’s, Churchdown
- Tuesday 8 May 2pm to 4pm, St Margaret Mary Church Hall, Coleford
- Friday 11 May, 10am to 12 noon, St James Parish Centre, Dursley
- Thursday 17 May 7.30pm to 9.30pm, Watermoor Hall, Cirencester.
With my thanks for all you are and do and the assurance of my prayers.