Baptisms en masse

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Benevenio
Posts: 187
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2003 2:32 am
Location: UK

Baptisms en masse

Post by Benevenio »

From BBC News website about the Georgian Orthodox Church:

The next baptism is scheduled for early April, when thousands of mums, dads and their children will cram into Tbilisi's biggest church, the Sameba Cathedral. The babies will be briefly dipped into a gigantic inflatable font after receiving a blessing from his Holiness, Ilia II.

Does anyone have a design for a 'gigantic inflatable font'?
Surely Music and Liturgy should run an article on such portable church architecture…
Benevenio.

JW
Posts: 850
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 8:46 am
Location: Kent

Re: Baptisms en masse

Post by JW »

In England, every Baptist church has a large permanent font for total immersion, discreetly hidden when Baptisms aren't taking place. The thing that really tickles me about them is that the water is heated - very sensible when you think about it.

8) Come on Church! What great symbolic value to have Baptism by Immersion as part of the Easter Vigil! 8)
JW

docmattc
Posts: 987
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2005 11:42 am
Parish / Diocese: Westminster
Location: Near Cambridge

Re: Baptisms en masse

Post by docmattc »

In 1973 the CDW recommended immersion for baptisms:

As the rite for baptising, either immersion, which is more suitable as a symbol of participation in the death and resurrection of Christ, or pouring may lawfully be used. (General Inst. Christian Init.)

In "Consecrated for Worship" our bishops reference this and stress the point:

In the baptismal Liturgy preference is given to baptism by immersion (that is either by full immersion, or standing or kneeling in water while water is poured over the head and whole body) rather than by infusion (that is, leaning over a font or bowl as water is poured over the head). New fonts should be designed and sited to enable both methods to take place for both adults and children from any side. (This avoids any inconvenience to ministers be they left or right-handed.) Consequently the bowl of the font needs to be quite large in size. Where the immersion of adults is to be undertaken a sunken or raised pool will need to be incorporated, or at least a floor area with adequate drainage or able to contain the poured water.

I suspect the CDW didn't have in mind a blow-up paddling pool though!

Southern Comfort
Posts: 1908
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 12:31 pm

Re: Baptisms en masse

Post by Southern Comfort »

The Church does indeed continue to view immersion as the primary means of baptism, and the rite frequently refers to "baptismal washing" and asks that those responsible "ensure that this washing is not a mere purification rite but the sacrament of being joined to Christ".

There will be an article in the Tablet for Easter Sunday relating one parish's experience of doing baptism by immersion (the priest gets into the pool too!) at the Easter Vigil. Although not stated in the article, they started off eight years ago by using a disguised inflatable paddling pool and poured water over the heads of the candidates; but now (as the article does say) they use a birthing pool (what a wonderful symbol of new life in Christ!) and immerse them in it.

The priest author says in his introduction "For many years we associated baptism with a small font that only allowed baptism of an infant with a simple pouring of the water from a shell or a jug. It suggested a very limited ritual almost as if water was restricted in its use. The ever increasing number of adults seeking baptism at the Easter Vigil is a new challenge for us to think differently as to the way we initiate adults at this time."

HallamPhil
Posts: 420
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2007 8:57 pm
Parish / Diocese: St Lawrence Diocese of St Petersburg
Location: Tampa, Florida

Re: Baptisms en masse

Post by HallamPhil »

Quite so SC. I can recall about 18 years ago, at St Ignatius Stamford Hill, the much-missed Kevin Donovan (assisted by 3 other priests) baptising about 40 adults. 4 garden ponds were arranged in a cruciform and believe me the baptised had to retire to change ... they were soaked through. Anyone who has seen anything like this will find anything less a bit of a dissappointment.

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