'We felt so welcomed by the church'

The churches taking part in the ‘Three Steps to Christenings’ pilot report back on how they have found focusing on the welcome offered to families has made a huge difference.

The ‘Three Steps to Christenings’ initiative is designed to help parishes look at what they can do around baptism and enable families to feel part of the congregation. New resources and practises designed by the Diocese of Liverpool including a welcome basket with child friendly additions such as ‘Charlie the Caterpillar’ have been trailed by the churches in the pilot with the aims of inspiring, equipping and connecting both parishes and baptism families.

Sue Mitchell Children & Families’, Missioner explains “The long term aim is to create good, sustainable baptism practices throughout the Diocese. In turn, we will be enabling churches to build good relationships with families and develop relevant groups and congregations to invite them back to.”

Last month, we reported the experience of St John’s Ainsdale. This week, All saints Newton Le willows and All Saints with St Frideswyde and St Mary’s Wavertree share their feedback.

Photo: Thanks to St Mary's Wavertree.

All saints Newton Le willows:

Here's some recent quotes/feedback for Christenings at All Saints. ..Newton Le Willows.
- Our daughter has celebrated her christening today. Her service is something that the whole family have spoken about and commented on how special it was. All the children were engaged and enjoyed the service too, we couldn't have asked for anything more in the beginning of Tahlia’s journey. Thank you so very much!
- My son was christened here at All Saints and I was very impressed, Reverend Chris conducted the service brilliantly, kept the children entertained with magic & Moana.. the reading ‘welcome to the journey- little one’ was fantastic! Thank you... x
- We felt so welcomed by the church and by Chris, the service was wonderful and many of our guests commented that it was the best christening service they've attended.
Thank you so much for a lovely day!
- Very welcoming church, everybody was lovely and the services they hold are great.
-  We had a lot of comments on the service from our guests. In particular they really liked the “Disney Moana” part and they loved the little bit of magic with the Bible pages. Quite a few said it was the best christening service they've attended. Thank you again for a lovely service, it was such a great day'
Rev Chris Stafford, All Saints, Newton Le Willows

All Saints with St Fridedswyde:

I had a big baptism in the summer with lots of children- too big for our 10.30 service so both families had their children baptised at 12.30pm. I used the Diocesan baptism box as a show and tell circle time for the children which the adults listened and learned from as well. “Best Christening I have ever been to" was said by a number of the family members and friends.
I had 100 present and at least one person had never been to a baptism before and I had about 10 children on the carpet at the front with me choosing items from the box (which included a football shirt) and we talked about the bible verse and why the item showed God's love.
One 7 year old in particular was a real star!!
Six people told me it was the best christening they had ever been to and the children and adults listened to every word of the welcome basket show and tell
It was such a blessing to have the box and it led to a really interesting discussion with children, which adults listened intently. I ask the children to give the blessing with me at the end of the service when they have handed out the candles, cards and small gifts. It is appreciated.
Rev Kath Rogers All Saints /with St Fridedswyde 

St Mary’s, Wavertree

I had three baptisms in July. There was a connection with both families.  Dionne & Luke brought Joseph and Jack for baptism.  I had taken Dionne's mother's funeral in April 2017 and when I got in touch to see how Dionne was feeling, she asked me if I would take her two boys' christening. 
With Adele and Christopher, whose son, Hunter was christened, I already knew Adele because her sister had had her three girls and 1 boy baptised in church and two of the girls have been confirmed.
On the eve of the baptism I was flying back from Rome, when my flight was delayed and could only get back as far as London by late Saturday night.  I was promised a flight back to Manchester in the morning and I actually arrived back at St Mary's 5 minutes before the service.  But felt it was important to do the service because of both connections.
Both families enjoyed the service and Dionne told me "the service was lovely, we really enjoyed it."  One of the families' members said "I have never been to such a good baptism service before."
Rev June Asquith St Mary’s, Wavertree.