Category : Baptism

New Text of Communion Without Baptism Resolution [C029] as Amended and Sent Back to HoD

Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, that The Episcopal Church reaffirms that baptism is the ancient and normative entry point to receiving Holy Communion and that our Lord Jesus Christ calls us to go into the world and
baptize all peoples. We also acknowledge that in various local contexts there is the exercise of pastoral sensitivity with those who are not yet baptized.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Gen. Con. 2012, Anthropology, Baptism, Episcopal Church (TEC), Eucharist, General Convention, Sacramental Theology, TEC Bishops, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Resolution C029 on Communion for the Unbaptized Passes House of Deputies on a vote by orders

(It is very important that you read the previous thread on this as well as the comments there first). Here again is the full text–

Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 77th General Convention direct the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies to appoint a special commission charged with conducting a study of the theology underlying access to Holy Baptism and Holy Communion in this Church and to recommend for consideration by the 78th General Convention any amendment to Title I, Canon 17, Section 7, of the Canons of General Convention that it deems appropriate; and be it further Resolved, That the General Convention request the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance to consider a budget allocation of $30,000 for the implementation of this Resolution.
Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, that The Episcopal Church reaffirms that baptism is the ancient and normative entry point to receiving Holy Communion and that our Lord Jesus Christ calls us to go into the world and baptize all peoples. We also acknowledge that in various local contexts there is the exercise of pastoral sensitivity with those who are not yet baptized.

You can find a copy of it here. Please note that in the House of Deputies debate today there was an attempt at an amendment that failed. The vote totals as announced were–Lay Order 85 yes, No 16, divided 9; Clergy 70 Yes, No 24, Divided 16.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Gen. Con. 2012, Anthropology, Baptism, Episcopal Church (TEC), Eucharist, General Convention, Pastoral Theology, Sacramental Theology, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

Whats Happening with the Communion of the UnBaptized?

Here is the latest from the committee–amended C029–

Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 77th General Convention direct the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies to appoint a special commission charged with conducting a study of the theology underlying access to Holy Baptism and Holy Communion in this Church and to recommend for consideration by the 78th General Convention any amendment to Title I, Canon 17, Section 7, of the Canons of General Convention that it deems appropriate; and be it further Resolved, That the General Convention request the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance to consider a budget allocation of $30,000 for the implementation of this Resolution.
Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, that The Episcopal Church reaffirms that baptism is the ancient and normative entry point to receiving Holy Communion and that our Lord Jesus Christ calls us to go into the world and baptize all peoples. We also acknowledge that in various local contexts there is the exercise of pastoral sensitivity with those who are not yet baptized.

You can find a copy of it here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Gen. Con. 2012, Anthropology, Baptism, Episcopal Church (TEC), Eucharist, General Convention, Pastoral Theology, Sacramental Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Diocese of Texas) William Treadwell on Communion w/o Baptism: Pastoral Theology vs. Doctrine

I am reminded of what I was taught by the Rev. Dr. Marion Hatchett: “never break a rubric unintentionally”. I think most priest have given communion to an unbaptized person. Hospitality and compassion may require it. But the doctrine of Baptism remains.

A personal example may be helpful. When I was ordained a priest, my father, an ordained Baptist minister, preached at my ordination. When the time came for the ordination, the Episcopal clergy gathered around to lay hands on my head along with the Bishop. My father remained in his seat, because there is no agreement between the Episcopal and Baptist churches on ordination. Just before the Bishop said the words of ordination he stopped, removed his hands from my head, and motioned for my father to come over and lay his hands on my head as well. This was contrary to the teaching of both the Episcopal and Baptist churches. This was poor doctrinal theology, but it was perfect pastoral theology. Bishop Patterson was a good bishop, and my dad was a good Baptist pastor. And yet, the doctrine remains.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, --Gen. Con. 2012, Baptism, Episcopal Church (TEC), Eucharist, General Convention, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sacramental Theology, Theology

TEC Gen. Con. 2012 Evangelism Commission rejects Communion of the Unbaptized outright

I consider this a moment of sanity and light–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Gen. Con. 2012, Anthropology, Baptism, Episcopal Church (TEC), Eucharist, General Convention, Sacramental Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

An Interesting Blog Post from July 2007–How widespread is Communion Without Baptism?

Read it all (and there are over 50 comments as well).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Gen. Con. 2012, Anthropology, Baptism, Episcopal Church (TEC), Eucharist, General Convention, Sacramental Theology, Theology

(ENS) ”˜Water first, or table?’ Committee hears ”˜open table’ testimony

(Please note the headline is ENS’ not mine, I intensely dislike the Open Table language and use Communion of the Unbaptized [or Communion without Baptism] instead–KSH).

Emma Grandhauser, from Minnesota, a member of convention’s official youth presence, testified that she didn’t attend church until she was six, and she was baptized at 13.
“I still remember my first Sunday in church at St. John the Evangelist in St. Paul,” she said. “It’s a church with their own open table policy.
“I was blown away by how welcoming the community was,” she said. “They didn’t just tell me about God’s love, they showed me that God’s love is for everyone….

But the Rev. Jason Wells, a deputy alternate from the Diocese of New Hampshire, said that to the unbaptized he offers a blessing at the altar rail “and prepares them for baptism, to make their first communion immediately after that. I don’t do that because there’s a canon on the books. I do it for the theological and biblical rationale. To remove this one line from our canons does not change what my practice would be in the church.”
He called the resolution’s language “confusing and somewhat self-defeating.”

Read it all.

Update: An Anglican Ink article on this may also be found there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Gen. Con. 2012, Anthropology, Baptism, Episcopal Church (TEC), Eucharist, General Convention, Sacramental Theology, Theology

Res. C040, Called "Open table" resolution, but really Communion for Unbaptized, Has Hearing Today

Word is there are a large number of speakers trying to address this matter. The hearing began at 7:30 est.

Make sure to be aware of the text of the resolution and go back also to reread this earlier blog thread on the subject.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Gen. Con. 2012, Anthropology, Baptism, Episcopal Church (TEC), Eucharist, General Convention, Sacramental Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Pope says being baptized means saying 'no' to a culture where truth does not matter

“Renouncing the glamour of Satan in today’s age means rejecting a culture where truth does not matter” and where “calumny and destruction” reign, he said. Christians reject “a culture that does not seek goodness, whose morality is really a mask to trick people and create destruction and confusion.”

“Against this culture in which falsehood presents itself as truth and information, against this culture that seeks only material well-being and denies God, we say, ‘no,'” the pope said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Baptism, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Sacramental Theology, Theology

Robert Hendrickson responds to the Diocese of Eastern Oregon report on Communing the UnBaptized

The challenge is not that we have a ministry of the baptized and Communion as our central act of worship ”“ the challenge is that we have clergy ill-trained in Sacramental theology administering them. We have laity that we have failed to form in Sacramental living. We now have a wide body of our priests that do not believe anything much actually happens in the Sacraments.

Do you believe the Holy Spirit descends upon a person and transforms their very being in Baptism so that they are united with Christ? Do you believe that Christ is truly present in the Body and Blood we receive at the Altar? Are the Sacraments God’s action or ours? I have heard far too many talking of Baptism as an entry rite rather than as transformation just as I have heard too many speak of Communion as a “meal” alone rather than the very Presence of Christ among us.

If you have a clergy addicted to modernism and reformation charged with carrying out the catholic Sacramental life of the Church then you will, indeed, have tension. But the tension should not between upending the Sacraments or administering them faithfully as they have been across the centuries. The tension should be between doing or not doing them. You can choose other ways of ministry that do not involve undoing the historic Sacraments of the Church if you are not comfortable with the faith and order we have been welcomed into as both baptized and ordained leaders.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, - Anglican: Analysis, Anthropology, Baptism, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Sacramental Theology, Soteriology, Theology

The Diocese of Eastern Oregon Report Supporting Communion of the Unbaptized

As Christendom was waning, the Episcopal Church ratified a new identity in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. This new identity brought us to practice baptismal ministry and made the Eucharist the central part of our Sunday worship. Now, after living this theology for over 30 years, we are faced with the growing practice of Open Table in the Episcopal Church. The two are not unrelated. Perhaps we did not anticipate that we would arrive at the place where we are considering the reversal of the traditional order of Sacraments. Yet, as more and more congregations practice Open Table, we are called to confront the incongruity between practice and traditional theological thinking.

Read it all carefully (Word document). [Please note if you have any trouble go there, then go down to resolution C040 and you will see the document link on the far right (you can get it as a pdf if you prefer)].

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Baptism, Episcopal Church (TEC), Eucharist, General Convention, Sacramental Theology, Theology

Al Kimel from 2004–Oh how I wish I could in conscience practice [Baptism without preparation] !

(I am taking the liberty of putting this on in full text since this is soon to be lost to posterity, I am sorry to say. Please remember that I intensely dislike the terminology of “open” baptism [or “”open” communion] because it confuses the practice being advocated by some in TEC with something altogether different; this is why I plead for what some TEC reappraisers advocate to be described as “communion of the unbaptized” –KSH).

Seminary ruined my ministry. By this I do not mean what we tired old priests often mean by this statement. I am referring here very specifically to the understanding of Holy Baptism that was beat into my head. Actually, it wasn’t beat into my head at all. I drank it in and embraced it in the heart. I was taught and have ever since believed that Baptism is the foundational sacrament of the Church and therefore must be attended to by as much prayer and catechetical preparation as is possible. The key influences here were my liturgics professor, Fr Louis Weil; the Lutheran theologian, Robert W. Jenson; but most especially the writings of the Catholic liturgist, Fr Aidan Kavanagh. Later on William Willimon and Stanley Hauerwas would come along to reinforce what I had already learned, that we no longer live in a Christian culture and therefore can no longer rely on the culture to transmit to our children the beliefs, values, and practices of Christian faith. The Church must become what it once was”“a disciplined community.
Ecclesial discipline begins with the sacrament of Holy Baptism, the gateway into the community of faith. If we do not practice discipline at this point, we cannot effectively foster discipline later down the road. Baptism is not a right. It is a privilege and gift that the Church is authorized to administer under very specific conditions.

I remember years ago hearing an apocryphal story of Catholic missionaries to Indonesia who would beat drums and make a lot of noise in a village, so that its inhabitants would come out of their huts to see what was going on”“at which point they would be met by the missionaries, water buckets in hand: “Ego te baptizo ”¦”

When may the Church baptize? The Scriptures are clear. The Church may baptize an individual when that individual has responded to the gospel in faith and repentance. The Church does not baptize everyone indiscriminately. Faith and conversion are necessary conditions. In the second and third centuries, we see the Church developing a catechumenal process to prepare adult converts for baptism. This process would often last one to three years, concluding with examination by the bishop and sacramental initiation at the Great Vigil of Easter. Kavanagh describes this catechumenal process not so much as intellectual instruction but as “conversion therapy.” He notes that the early Church was not interested in indiscriminately baptizing the multitudes. It wanted to make Christians.

Tertullian had already observed that Christians are not born but made. Augustine and his colleagues over a century later would have agreed, perhaps extending the epigram to say that they do not just wander in off the streets either. They are honed down by the teaching and discipline of the catechumenate until their metal is tough, resilient, sharp, and glowing. The “enlightenment” of baptism was not a flickering flame but a burst of God’s glory in those whose capacities to receive it had been expanded to their utmost. And although things were different since the pagan Celsus had written archly in 168 that “if all men wanted to be Christian, the Christians would no longer want them,” being prepared in the fifth century to absorb a whole society did not mean that the churches would do so indiscriminately. The fathers’ catechetical homilies suggest that they still needed more Christians less than they needed better ones, even as they wished and worked for the conversion of all.

What about the baptism of children? They are the exception, not the norm. We risk the baptism of children only because their parents are practicing Christians and have demonstrated that they will raise their children within the household of faith, in the fear and admonition of the Lord. If their parents are not practicing Christians, then the Church has no authority whatsoever to baptize their children, no matter what the grandparents want!

And so this young priest took this understanding of Baptism and catechumenate out into the world. No other issue has caused me more trouble than this in my ministry of twenty-four years! Indeed, it is probably safe to say that it destroyed my ministry in one parish and has caused me nothing but grief in my present parish. How I wish I could in good conscience offer “open baptism.” Disciplined baptismal policy always offends, no matter how gently and graciously it is articulated. No one wants to hear that there are conditions and requirements that must be fulfilled if baptism is to be administered with sacramental and spiritual integrity. No one wants to hear that the faith and commitment of the parents necessarily and rightly affects the Church’s decision to baptize a baby. No one wants to hear the word no.

So when I read about “open baptism” I am filled with both envy and anger. I am envious, because these priests are able to avoid all of the grief and problems of trying to communicate to nonbelieving parents they must begin to take their baptismal vows seriously if they wish their children to be baptized into the Church. The open baptism policy makes everything so easy. There are no conditions to be imposed. No requirements are insisted upon. Difficult conversations are avoided. We just toss the water and say the magic words and everyone is happy. Oh if only I could in conscience offer open baptism. How nice it would be for me and everyone else if I could just adopt a no-conflict, no-grief, no-aggravation policy like St Bart’s in Poway, California:

We are an open and affirming church. No classes are required and no judgments are passed at St. Bartholomew’s. If you wish to be baptized and become Jesus Christ’s own forever, just ask and you can be.

But as I said, I was ruined in seminary. When I read a baptismal policy like the above, I become angry. These open baptism priests are prostituting the gospel. Baptism is not a spiritual tonic that we dispense to everyone who asks for it. Baptism is conversion, the renunciation of evil, and the embrace of love, self-denial, and the way of the cross. It’s all so cozy for these open baptism pastors and their congregations. No judgments are made. No discipline is imposed. No one has to say “no.” Baptism becomes a nice little ceremony of cultural affirmation. Everyone is blessed. Everyone feels good. But the identity and mission of the Church is sold out for a bowl of pottage.

(Please note that for now you can find the original post there. You may be interested to read the comments–KSH)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anthropology, Baptism, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Sacramental Theology, Theology

(The Daily) Benjamin Dueholm–Exploring Easter Vigil, the night when new converts are baptized

This morning the smoke of incense is still dissipating from thousands of churches around the country and the world where, last night, the Great Vigil of Easter was celebrated. This service ”” which begins with a bonfire and continues with readings, psalms, prayers, baptisms and the first mass of the Easter season, all ending (typically) with a big late-night meal to break the fast of Lent ”” was, in the first centuries of Christian history, the central event in the worshiping life of the Church. Today it’s an observance that appeals primarily to liturgy geeks (myself very much included), an unwieldy and time-consuming festival that dramatically complicates one’s plans for baked hams and Easter baskets.

Strange as the Easter Vigil may seem today, it hasn’t lost its original purpose: welcoming new believers into the body of the faithful. What is so powerful about the Easter Vigil, apart from the sheer sensory experience of it, is the way it intertwines the whole story of the Bible with the passing over of Jesus from death on Good Friday to resurrection on Easter. And the men and women who have been preparing for baptism (called “catechumens,” or hearers) step into these entwined stories on Saturday night, just as men and women did back when Christianity was a minor cult of the Roman world.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptism, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Sacramental Theology, Theology

Bryan Owen Offers a Helpful Summary of some response to the Communion of the Unbaptized Proposal

Now that the Anglican Covenant is dead in the water, those who seek to revise what it means to be the Church have no need to worry about the process set out in the fourth section of that document (assuming that they would have needed to worry if the Covenant was adopted anyway). Regardless, the drive for CWOB is a manifestation of commitment to an “autonomous ecclesiology” rather than “communion ecclesiology.”

Read it all and yes, follow all the links.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anthropology, Baptism, Episcopal Church (TEC), Eucharist, General Convention, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sacramental Theology, Soteriology, TEC Parishes, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Eastern Oregon Puts Forward Resolution Proposing Communion of the Unbaptized

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Baptism, Episcopal Church (TEC), Eucharist, General Convention, Sacramental Theology, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

(The Salt Lake Tribune) Mormon church blocks whistle-blower’s access to baptism data

A technological crackdown, telegraphed by Mormon leaders, has effectively blocked the pre-eminent whistle-blower of controversial proxy baptisms from accessing the LDS Church’s database that chronicles so-called baptisms for the dead.

LDS officials defend the move, saying it helps prevent overzealous Mormons and mischief-makers from violating church policy by submitting the names of prominent Jewish figures, such as Anne Frank and Daniel Pearl, both discovered on the baptism rolls in recent weeks.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptism, Eschatology, Inter-Faith Relations, Judaism, Mormons, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Sacramental Theology, Science & Technology, Theology

John Turner: Mormons and Baptism by Proxy

What do George Washington, Albert Einstein and Stanley Ann Durham (Barack Obama’s mother) have in common? Mormons have baptized each of them by proxy, performing a temple rite they believe gives human beings a posthumous opportunity to obtain salvation.

Researchers recently discovered that Mormons had similarly baptized the parents of famed Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, whose mother died in a Nazi extermination camp in 1942. And one Mormon recently proposed for proxy baptism the still-living Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel.

This esoteric practice doesn’t always provoke complaints””President Obama refused to comment on his mother’s case, for instance””but it has strained Mormon-Jewish relations over the past two decades.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Baptism, Eschatology, Judaism, Mormons, Other Faiths, Sacramental Theology, Theology

(BBC) Mormons baptise deceased parents of Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal

The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center denounced the news.

“We are outraged that such insensitive actions continue in the Mormon temples,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, a spokesman at the centre.

The Mormon religion allows baptism after death, and believes the departed soul can then accept or reject the baptismal rites.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptism, Death / Burial / Funerals, Eschatology, Inter-Faith Relations, Judaism, Mormons, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sacramental Theology, Theology

(NPR) Off The Record: A Quest For De-Baptism In France

In France, an elderly man is fighting to make a formal break with the Catholic Church. He’s taken the church to court over its refusal to let him nullify his baptism, in a case that could have far-reaching effects.

Seventy-one-year-old Rene LeBouvier’s parents and his brother are buried in a churchyard in the tiny village of Fleury in northwest France. He himself was baptized in the Romanesque stone church and attended mass here as a boy.

LeBouvier says this rural area is still conservative and very Catholic, but nothing like it used to be. Back then, he says, you couldn’t even get credit at the bakery if you didn’t go to mass every Sunday….

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptism, Europe, France, Law & Legal Issues, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Sacramental Theology, Secularism, Theology

Pope Benedict XVI's Homily for the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus

Let us return again to the theme of witnessing. In the second reading the Apostle John writes: “It is the Spirit who bears witness” (1 John 5:6). He is referring to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, who bears witness to Jesus, testifying that he is the Christ, the Son of God. This is also seen in the scene of the baptism in the Jordan River: the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus like a dove, revealing that he is the Only Begotten Son of the Eternal Father (cf. Mark 1:10). John underscores this aspect as well in his Gospel when Jesus says to his disciples: “When the Paraclete comes, whom I will send from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me; and you too will bear witness to me, because you have been with me from the beginning” (John 15:26-27). This is a great comfort to us in educating others in the faith because we know that we are not alone and that our witness is supported by the Holy Spirit.

It is very important for you parents and also for you godfathers and godmothers to believe strongly in the presence and the action of the Holy Spirit, to call upon him and welcome him in you through prayer and the sacraments. He is the one in fact who enlightens the mind, who makes the heart of the educator burn so that he or she knows how to transmit the knowledge of the love of Christ. Prayer is the first condition for educating, because in praying we create the disposition in ourselves of letting God have the initiative, of entrusting our children to him, who knows them before we do and better than us, and knows perfectly what their true good is.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptism, Children, Christology, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Sacramental Theology, Theology

Baptized as a Dad–How parenthood brought faith and a change of lifestyle

For Ben baptism was all about making a commitment. He said: “The words that were said in the children’s baptism made me realise that you couldn’t be a Christian without making a commitment. It was a personal thing on one level, but it is also a public statement that you’re going to follow Christ.”

Shortly after he was baptised Ben started going to church every week and soon stepped into the role of Sunday School leader. He realised that he had very little knowledge about his faith and the Anglican church, so five years ago he enrolled on the Bishop’s Certificate (a course run by Southwell and Nottingham Diocese) and then trained as a Reader.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Baptism, Children, Church of England (CoE), Evangelism and Church Growth, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Sacramental Theology, Theology

(CEN) US backing for communion without baptism

The Episcopal Church’s national office has given a backhanded blessing to the practice of allowing those not baptized to receive Holy Communion””a practice forbidden by canon law.

Supporters of Communion without Baptism (CWOB) have argued that relaxing the church’s Eucharistic discipline will serve as a recruiting tool for those outside the faith. However, traditionalists have rejected the practice as uncanonical and contrary to church teaching.

Last month the Episcopal Church Office of Congregational Vitality posted a video to the national church’s website highlighting the ministry of parish of St Paul & the Redeemer in Chicago. The congregation “exemplifies transformative work,” the Rev. Bob Honeychurch, the Episcopal Church’s officer for congregational vitality, said, adding that the parish “sees its primary point of contact with the wider community through its Sunday morning experience. The worship becomes its witness to the world.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Baptism, Episcopal Church (TEC), Eucharist, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Sacramental Theology, TEC Parishes, Theology

(CEN) Canadian ”˜no’ to communion without baptism

The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada has rejected calls to permit those not baptized to be allowed to receive the “sacrament of the holy Eucharist.”

At the close of their April 11-15 meeting in Niagara Falls, Ontario the bishops reaffirmed the church’s canons and traditional practice stating only those baptized would be permitted to receive. “We do not see this as changing for the foreseeable future,” the bishops said.

The bishops’ debate follows a March 7 “Guest Reflection” published in Canada’s Anglican Journal by Dr. Gary Nicolosi who argued for a relaxation in the church’s Eucharistic discipline as a way of attracting more people to church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Baptism, Eucharist, Sacramental Theology, Theology

Angela Tilby on the Debate about the words in the Baptismal Service

…while the Church debates baptism here in Britain, far away in a Kabul jail a solitary Afghan prisoner is living out its implications. Said Musa is under threat of execution because he was attracted to the Christian faith nine years ago. He was baptised by someone pouring a jug of water over his head and saying some words from the Bible, and from then on he became a marked man. Like the first Christians he is now paying the bitter price of his decision.

Of course it is unlikely that children baptized here will find themselves in prison for being Christians, but I don’t think you can take the hint of sacrifice out of baptism any more than you can protect a new born baby from the tears and torments of growing up. St Paul said, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ were baptized into his death?” That is a shocking thing to say, and it’s fine not to want this ceremony for yourself or your children, that’s a choice for everyone to make.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Baptism, Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Sacramental Theology, Theology

A BBC Radio Four Today Programme debating the words in the Church of England Baptismal Service

Herewith the BBC blurb:

The Church of England is considering whether to scrap some of the more archaic language used in the baptism service, following a drop in baptisms in recent years.
Moira Astin, the vicar of St James in Berkshire, and Father David Houlding, an Anglo-Catholic member of the General Synod, debate whether the ceremony needs improving.

Listen to it all (about 5 1/4 minutes).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Baptism, Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Sacramental Theology, Theology

(BBC) Adult baptisms in Staffordshire double national average

The number of adults baptised in Staffordshire in the Anglican Church has shown a 15% increase in 2010.

The figure for the Diocese of Lichfield, which covers most of the county, is twice that for the rest of the Church of England.

However the number of baptisms overall fell slightly, as did the numbers of people attending services regularly.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Baptism, Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Sacramental Theology, Theology

(Liverpool Echo) Church of England plea to make church services less baffling for non-churchgoers

The Rev Dr Tim Stratford, from Kirkby, said a group of clergy from deprived parishes in the Liverpool Diocese had discussed their misgivings about some of the language in the baptismal service.

He said the tension between understandability and historic theological references was “as sharp as ever” in rites such as baptism involving large numbers of people including parents and godparents who are “unchurched”.

One of the passages highlighted by the group was the Prayer over Water, during the baptismal service, which speaks of the children of Israel being led from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Baptism, Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Sacramental Theology, Theology

Daily Mail: Anglican church offers 'baptism lite' to attract non-worshippers

Church of England baptism services may be re-written to remove some references to Christianity.

The plan for a new ”˜baptism lite’ service designed to make christenings more interesting to non-churchgoers will be considered next month by the Church’s parliament, the General Synod. Supporters say the baptism service should be ”˜expressed in culturally appropriate and accessible language’ that is readily understood by ”˜non-theologically versed Britons’. But traditionalist clergy said the idea amounted to ”˜dumbing down’.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Baptism, Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Sacramental Theology, Theology

(Irish Times) Kitty Holland: Thou shalt not defect: baptism is forever

It is no longer possible, it would seem, to leave the Catholic Church. Although the church in Ireland has been accepting applications to defect, many on foot of applications printed from the user-friendly CountMeOut website, it said on Tuesday that it would no longer process them. The website, which has helped disillusioned Catholics leave, has suspended offering the defection papers “until the situation has been clarified”.

In a somewhat ambiguously worded statement the Dublin archdiocese set out the situation for all dioceses: “The Holy See confirmed at the end of August that it was introducing changes to canon law and as a result it will no longer be possible to formally defect from the Catholic Church.” But, it continued: “This will not alter the fact that many people can defect from the church and continue to do so, albeit not through a formal process. This is a change that will affect the church throughout the world.”

It said the archdiocese planned to maintain a register “to note the expressed desire of those who wish to defect”. Last year, it said, 229 people had defected formally from the church through the archdiocese; the figure for this year so far is 312.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptism, England / UK, Ireland, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Sacramental Theology, Theology

(ENS) Michael Drawbaugh–Teaching gives new meaning to the Baptismal Covenant

If you are born into a poor community you have less of a chance of graduating from high school and you may never attend college or trade school. If this is you, this means your school does not have new materials or textbooks, your school may be crowded and stress-filled, and your school may have a reputation for poor performance and low morale. Consequently, new school teachers will be reticent about choosing your school as their first job out of college. Teach for America places dynamic, motivated college graduates in some of our nation’s underprivileged schools. Teach for America trained me and found work for me here in South Dakota. But, only God would make that work holy.

On my confirmation day, I sat in that huge cathedral, ready to make promises I didn’t fully understand. Now in this realm, in my new career of educational leadership, I truly see what it means to seek and serve Christ in all people. For me, it means that every little miracle that shows up at my classroom door represents a sacred mystery. For me, it means if I look closely into the eyes of the student I am teaching, I might catch a glimpse of the divine looking back at me. For me, it means that I will let my hands, feet and legs say my prayers for me and my every act of service will be a hymn of gratitude.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Baptism, Education, Episcopal Church (TEC), Religion & Culture, Sacramental Theology, Theology