“Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit.”
St Michael and All Angels, Bishop Middleham
Do you remember your baptism?
I don’t. I was only 24 days old when I was baptised. At the time of my baptism such services were not the large celebrations they have often become, they were intimate family celebrations. Babies were usually only a few weeks old and the gatherings were quite small.
It’s wonderful to think of God’s love surrounding a baby before the child is ever aware of it. This year I have tried in a different way to “re-member” my baptism. First of all the place. My baptism took place in the beautiful ancient parish church of St Michael, Bishop Middleham in County Durham. I revisited the church with my mother a few weeks ago. This has been the parish church of many of my ancestors, and great great grandparents lie in the churchyard. For over 250 years members of my family have lived in this small parish.
Then the event itself. I talked with my mother about my baptism, she told me who the guests were and how the priest, Fr Porteous OGS had forgotten and had to leave his gardening that Sunday afternoon. She told how she was ‘churched’ before the service and how my older sister playfully pushed the service cards into the font, and then she told me of tea afterwards at home in Mainsforth.
Do you keep the anniversary of your baptism?
Hearing the story of my baptism, visiting the church where it happened and reading a little about the symbolism and meaning of the sacrament helped me to connect with this special event and those very early days of my Christian life.
How will you remember your baptism? When Sunday, the anniversary of my baptism, comes, I will remember the place and the story. In prayer and imagination I will revisit Bishop Middleham and at church I will light a candle and give thanks for baptism.