Updated Sunday afternoon and evening, Monday morning The update includes a link to the experimental texts.
The Mail on Sunday published this article by Jonathan Petre today: Welby casts out ‘sin’ from christenings: Centuries-old rite rewritten in ‘language of EastEnders’ for modern congregation. The online version is dated yesterday, but was updated early today.
The Mail on Sunday also carries this editorial: Embarrassed Church’s sin of omission.
Edward Malnick writes in the Telegraph: Church of England removes devil from christening service.
The Guardian carries this story from the Press Association: Church of England accused of dumbing down baptism service.
The Church of England issued this statement last night.
Statement on proposal to Synod on baptism service wording
04 January 2014
A Church of England spokesman said:
“The report in the Mail on Sunday (Jan 5) is misleading in a number of respects. The story claims that “the baptism ceremony had not been altered for more than 400 years until it was changed in 1980”. This is the third revision in 30 years.
The Baptism service currently used by the Church of England has been in use since Easter 1998. The wording of the service was amended by General Synod in 2000 and again in 2005.
In 2011 a group of clergy from the Diocese of Liverpool brought forward a motion to the General Synod of the Church of England requesting materials to supplement the Baptism service “in culturally appropriate and accessible language.” Specifically the motion requested new additional materials which would not replace or revise the current Baptsim service but would be available for use as alternatives to three parts of the service.
The Liverpool motion was passed by General Synod and as a consequence the liturgical commission has brought forward some additional materials for discussion by the General Synod at a future date where they will be subject to final approval by the Synod.
At its last meeting the House of Bishops agreed that the additional materials should be piloted and they were sent to over 400 for a trial period which lasts until the end of the April. The texts have no formal status without approval by General Synod.”
David Pocklington of Law &Religion UK comments: Sin + sound bites = Sales?
Miranda Prynne in The Telegraph Church of England accused of ‘dumbing down’ christening service
Sam Jones in The Guardian Church of England’s new baptism service condemned by former bishop
A booklet containing the full experimental additional texts for use in Holy Baptism is available for download: Christian Initiation: Additional Texts in Accessible Language. The booklet also contains guidance on their use, and a comparison with the current Common Worhsip texts. Clergy of the Church of England are reminded that under the provisions of Canon B 5A (Of authorization of forms of service for experimental periods) these experimental texts may only be used in parishes authorized for this purpose by the archbishops.
[h/t Jeremy Fletcher]
Pete Broadbent doesn’t like the proposals: The experimental baptism rite – baptism lite.
Savi Hensman at Ekklesia asks Is baptism being watered down?
Emily Gosden writes in The Telegraph: Sin? People think it’s about sex and cream cakes, says Archdeacon in baptism service row.
Christina Odone comments in The Telegraph: Don’t ditch the devil, he’s done great service to Christianity.
The Church Times report of the 2011 General Synod debate is available: More ‘accessible’ baptism prayers on the cards.