Where we Actually Started
The PCC’s original desire was to purchase a baptistery large enough for adults or teenagers to be fully immersed. This was part of our original vision of becoming a church which makes new Christians. We have hired a baptistery on two previous occasions – but it is an expensive business. Each time we hire one it costs £350. As this is the third time we have done so we have already spent over £1,100.
An Even More Expensive Plan
The original plan to dig a baptistery under the dais proved prohibitively costly. We never got as far as talking to an architect, but St Paul’s in Chippenham were told to expect costs of between £30, 000 – £40,000. St Paul’s is an older and larger church with a stone floor, but it has the same kind of dais that we do.
A Way Forward
We discovered that the Archbishop of York baptises in the open air outside York Minster using the same baptistery that we used two weeks ago. When we learned that it could also act as a communion table, we were even more interested. Although there is no issue at 9am when there are only two people distributing the elements at communion, it is not easy for four people to do this comfortably at 11 am. We tend to get in one another’s way.
Now we cannot deny that the new table looks small in comparison to the one we are used to. We appreciate that it might look less imposing. However, it is also lighter in weight. We also have to take the communion table off the dais several times each December, so that is another important factor to take into account. Please do feel free to examine it closely after the service.
Two Problems Addressed
PCC has one big problem to solve and one smaller one.
- The big one is how to provide for regular baptism by immersion in such a way that the congregation can really participate in the service.
- The small one is how to conduct our communion service with efficiency and dignity.
- The new baptistery / communion table goes some way to providing an answer to both questions – and at a total cost of around £2000.
Our next step
We currently have these items on approval. PCC will need to make a decision at our meeting on the 17th July. The photos of PCC members are on the wall by the front door. Please let them know your views.