Diocese makes a difference as baptism liturgy is redrafted

General Synod has approved liturgical material in a more accessible language thanks to an initiative that started in our diocese over ten years ago.

Clergy in urban parishes were meeting and reflecting on the large numbers of baptisms in their churches and the tensions that while on the one hand they had a fantastic mission opportunity many clergy hated baptisms.

Led in part by Tim Stratford, then Rector of Kirkby and now Archdeacon of Leicester, the group started to look at the problems they saw with the liturgy. Tim, a liturgist and member of the liturgical commission both relished and was daunted by the challenge – a limiting liturgy in church of over 200 people who were disconnected with church life and language.

Preparation was not the answer. That many people could never be reached in that way. So it was clear that the language and liturgy needed to be addressed. The main complaints were that the service had a disconnect with contemporary language and culture, that the prayer of the water was long and difficult to understand and clergy were also struggling with the words of the decision and commission.

Tim was clear in earlier interviews that this was not baptism light but an accessible service that offers an alternative to the words in Common Worship.

This is one example of how General Synod can make a difference and as this synod dissolves and we enter a period of nominations for the next General Synod our bishops will be writing to parishes to urge us all to consider whether we are being called to stand for Synod and be this kind of difference.

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How synod voted

CHRISTIAN INITIATION: ADDITIONAL TEXTS FOR HOLY BAPTISM IN ACCESSIBLE LANGUAGE (GS 1958B AND GS 1958X)
Article 7 business Final Approval
The Bishop of Sodor and Man (Chair of the Steering Committee) moved:
'That the liturgical business entitled "Christian Initiation: Additional Texts for Holy Baptism in Accessible Language" be finally approved for a period from 1 September 2015 until further Resolution of the Synod.'
The final vote was approved after a division of houses, with the voting figures below:
House of Bishops: For - 23, Against - 1, Abstentions - 1,
House of Clergy: For - 114, Against - 6, Abstentions - 5,
House of Laity: For - 126, Against - 10, Abstentions - 6

You can make this type of difference

Find out more about General Synod and how synod works go to find out more about Synod and Synod elections at www.synodelections.org