Baptism and Confirmation in Chantilly

Bishop Robert spent the weekend of 19 May at St. Peter’s Church, Chantilly. This day before Pentecost will mainly be remembered for the joyous full immersion baptisms of four young people.

We gathered outside the church on a beautifully sunny afternoon with Chaplain Sarah Tillett and the four candidates: Jemima, Anna, Laurence and Pablo.

The large paddling pool had taken two hours to fill with water. A good congregation of supporters gathered, and the singing attracted passers by to take a look. The water was cold, but they all survived the experience with much joy and laughter. The Bishop presided over affairs from the safety of the pool side, not having brought the right gear for getting into the water. Chaplain Sarah, by contrast had just the right green waders from her days as a trout fisherwoman.

It really was total immersion. Some of our congregation were surprised that the Anglican church does total immersion baptisms. I explained that, at the Reformation, the Anglican Reformers attempted to recover the practices and theology of the early church. If you visit a really ancient church, you see the font is big enough for a proper immersion baptism. Baptism symbolises dying and rising with Christ. Proper full immersion is a powerful and dramatic symbol of our identification with Christ. After the baptisms it was time to get dry and warm and to share in a delicious barbecue.

The next day was Pentecost Sunday. We gathered again for confirmation.

Here is the whole group: Jemima, Anna, Laurence and Pablo, together with Alice, Benjamin, Gabrielle, Liam, Philip, Natasha, Rochelle, Samuel, Tatiana, William and our one adult candidate Regis.

This service was the culmination of many months’ nurturing of a large group of candidates by the St. Peter’s youth group ‘The Way’, including a trip to Soul Survivor. Holding, developing and encouraging young people in Christian faith through their teens is a vital ministry. The beliefs we adopt in our teens mostly stay with us for life. So congratulations to the St. Peter’s team for their excellent work and for the fruit it will surely bear in these young people’s lives.

The Rt Revd Robert Innes, Bishop in Europe

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