The Easter Vigil saw my first full immersion baptisms and was the culmination of our RCIA process in Crawley parish.
The parish has 6 worshipping communities and we decided that this year the baptisms would take place in our shared church in Broadfield. Non-full iimersion Baptisms, Confirmations and Receptions also took place in our other churches.
The Broadfield shared church of Christ Our Lord was a joint project between URC, Anglican and Catholics and continues with Anglicans, the Fellowship and ourselves. The church was designed in a modern fashion with a full emersion font built into the floor in front of the altar steps.
Having attended the Roehampton RCIA conference last summer, we changed our approach to adult sacramental preparation to an ongoing process of weekly sharing evenings with monthly adult catechetical talks which are also open to the general parish and we called the whole process ‘Journey Into Faith’.
After Christmas, the candidates were accepted into the Catechumenate and at the beginning of Lent Bishop Kieran accepted them into the Elect at our Cathedral in Arundel. They undertook the Scrutinies during Lent and on Holy Saturday as part of Morning Prayer, we made the Presentations of Creed and the Our Father, anointed again with the oil of Catechumens, administered the Ephaphata and heard their Confirmation names.
The Baptisms themselves were joyous both for the Elect and the congregation. We dressed casually but me with an old alb. I went in first, the level of water up to my chest and welcomed each of the Elect in turn. They relaxed to their knees and allowed me to plunge their heads into the water three times as I spoke the Trinitarian formula. We dried and changed in the sacristy and completed the Baptisms with dressing them in white albs, lighting candles from the Paschal candle and finally anointing them with Chrism in Confirmation. At Communion, it was a pleasure to welcome them first as they completed their journey into our Christian community.