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Baptisms

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We are happy to conduct infant, child and adult baptisms, during our morning service at 11am on a Sunday. This enables the Congregation here to welcome you into the family of Union Chapel and also into the worldwide family of Christians. You are warmly encouraged to bring your family and friends to the service.

Traditionally, children have been baptised in infancy or soon after, a tradition steeped in the teachings of the Established churches. We are pleased to offer infant baptisms to families whose wishes take this form, but with a nonconformist interpretation. For parents who are uncertain about child baptisms, we offer blessings and dedications as an alternative. We also welcome older children, who feel ready to make their own commitments and promises.

We offer during the the weeks before baptism our thoughts and prayers for parents and Godparents.

Please contact the Minister on church [at] unionchapel.org.uk to discuss services that would feel right for you.

Adult Baptisms

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
1 Corinthians 13:11

We are delighted also to practice adult baptisms. Sometimes we welcome those whose journey into faith is a new one; sometimes people who were baptised as infants or children feel that they wish to re-affirm that baptism as adults.

Adults considering baptism are encouraged to attend services and study groups at Union Chapel, that they may enter into their commitment from a position of knowledge and education.

For the brave hearted we can arrange a full immersion. Others feel more comfortable with a general soaking, and we are happy to accommodate those who would rather a sedate sprinkling of water.

drenching of Andy

The picture above shows an adult reaffirmation of faith, for a congregant who was baptised as a child but wished to cement a lifelong commitment.

Please contact the Minister, Karen Stallard, to discuss your wishes and future direction.

Other Worlds: A Sermon at Union Chapel - Graham White

Readings: A Meditation on Baptism, 30 September 2012

Think of suddenly falling into water: the shock, the unexpected cold, the light suddenly become greenish, the silence, the weightlessness. And then you come to the surface again, and concentrate on clambering out of the water, and come to terms with having to find dry clothes and pay the rather large dry cleaning bills.

We come to live new lives, as Christians: maybe not all at once, and maybe not suddenly and dramatically, but, as Christians, our lives are being slowly and steadily made new. And, as this happens, we feel around and try to make sense of this new landscape around us. So, the sudden shock. But the picture of falling in is, in a sense, misleading: because when we fall into water it takes us into a new and strange world, whereas, when we become Christians, we continue living the lives that we have lived, but we, and the world, have changed. And we try to make sense of our new lives using pictures from our old ones.

Think of a long walk through muddy fields: think of coming home and a warm bath. Think of the new sense of well-being, of cleanliness, of looking around you and feeling content. This, too, is like baptism, but (unlike baptism) the effect does not last; we have to get washed repeatedly, but the effect of baptism stays with us. Think of a person who was depressive, and who was subject to black, despairing moods; he knew, however, that he was in these moods, and that his despair was a misperception, and so he would write in chalk on the table in front of him “I have been baptised”, so that he would have something external to hold on to. (The man’s name, by the way, was Martin Luther.)

Baptism is how our new life starts, and it is a picture of how our new life starts, and, because it is the start of our new life (a life which is to be not like the life of someone asleep but, as far as possible, a life in which we know what we are doing): because it is thus, it is a promise of how things will be in the future for us. It is not, in any bad sense, magical: it shows us how things will be, in a very unpretentious way, using things that happen to us, all the time, in our lives. But by doing this, it brings us and God together, and brings us together using the normal things in our lives: as I have said, no magic. But what is better than magic: an invitation, and a promise, to live our lives together with God.

© Graham White 2012