Dick Hunt's Blog

April 4, 2012

Baptism With or Without Instruction

Filed under: Current — Tags: — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 1:13 pm

Baptism With or Without Instruction.
by Dick Hunt, April 4th, 2012.

Years ago in an Alberta Parish  a young man began coming to our Sunday evening services  and initially for many weeks he always came after the services began and left just before the last hymn. I was curious, but finally he stayed behind and told me the reason.  He was sizing us up and determining if we were consistent and could be trusted to tell the truth.  Then he told me that he and his wife had a baby daughter that was not baptized and could we arrange for that. Then he told me that his wife was not baptized and could we talk about that. He invited me to visit them in their home.

I duly spent an evening with them and they asked me many questions.  They had both been brought up in another Church and he had been very active there for years.  His wife told me that she would like to think about becoming an Anglican but that she would feel very disloyal if she changed churches.  I gently told her that no-one could be a  member of any Church unless they were Baptized and that therefore she had not been a ‘member’ of her former Church, but an ‘adherent’.  With that in mind, we spent a good deal of time discussing Baptism, what it meant, why it was important, what it accomplished and promised. In due course we baptized both the Mother and daughter at a Sunday Service and the little family became very active, effective happy members of  St. George’s Parish in Stettler Alberta.

Ron and Ruth spread the word around that they had been having great learning experiences in our visits about Baptism and Church membership and as a result another young couple who had just been blessed with the birth of their second child phoned me and asked for a visit.  We had several very lively sessions and they asked me to re-baptize their first child and baptize their newborn baby.  I asked them where their first child was Baptized and by whom and when I learned that my predecessor had officiated, using the Book of Common Prayer service, I told them that their child was certainly baptized and could not be baptized again. Their problem was that they had not been counseled before that baptism and therefore felt that the service was not valid due to their own lack of understanding. So, again at a Sunday Service, we baptized the new baby and the couple became happy and active members of the Church.

An added blessing was that both these couples and through their influence six other young couples with young families became keen to press on with their studies  and all eight couples became a very  excited group fellowship in a Confirmation class which met once a week in the evening for around eight months and really dug deeply in their desire to learn how to live and share the Christian life.  I am still in touch with some of them and they have never flagged in their praise and worship and service as leaders in the Parishes in which they have lived. Jesus Christ has never  let them go and they are still His happy Pilgrims, on the way to the Kingdom in heaven.

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