Many people find that the Common Worship baptism service can come across as rather wordy and unwieldy, especially for families who aren’t especially familiar with the language and frame of reference. We have for a long time had the option to make use of the simpler ASB forms of The Decision, and an alternative authorised affirmation of faith, and there are now some simpler and more accessible alternatives for the Promises, the Decision, the Prayer over the Water, and the Commission.
Here are some comments about what has worked.
Ally writes: We’ve always used the shorter alternatives, and we often preface each section of the service with a brief introduction to say what it’s about – not so we can get all dogmatic about it, but just to help people engage with what’s happening. It would be lovely to think that the imagery and words all speak for themselves, but sometimes it’s good to have a signpost so people can work out what to listen and look for.
Some churches print special service sheets each time – with the name of the child included, and all the hymns / songs printed so that there’s no need to faff with hymn books. Other churches don’t have the resources to do this, and want to produce the best re-usable service they can. Here are some examples of what churches have come up with.
Ally writes: we have a re-usable service sheet (but if parents want to print their own bespoke one, we will draft it for them just as we would with a wedding service sheet, and email it to them so they can then make it look pretty!). We include small line drawings at key points to help people navigate their way through and also to lighten up what can look like a very wordy service. We then us the same picture, much bigger, as a colouring book for children to use during the service. Here are some of the pictures: