We welcomed a brilliant visiting speaker on Sunday June 3rd at Bunyan Meeting. Rev Dr Paul Davis, Past President of the Congregational Federation, introduced us to his ongoing research into the ways people think about Baptism. Bunyan Meeting baptises infants and adults. We have a full immersion pool at the front of the church, as well as a font.
And it turns out that the views of our members are as inclusive as our practices. Paul had carried out in depth interviews with six of our members over the last few months. And in a discussion group following the morning service, he invited us to reflect on our own baptism, or a baptism we had been to recently. This revealed a wide range of experience, including Anglican, Catholic, Irish Presbyterian and even Coptic ceremonies. He asked if we thought someone could go to heaven if they weren’t baptised? What about emergency baptisms in hospitals? Members and visitors to our church enjoyed wrestling with these questions, and sharing their own experiences.
Paul himself served for many years as a GP, including working as an emergency doctor, taking part in dramatic helicopter dashes to the scenes of accidents. He was in attendance at the Clapham Rail Crash and Kings Cross Fire. So he has a lot of experience of human life to bring to his ministry, and to his research into how people think and feel about baptism, which is our celebration of life and faith.
Pictured here are Paul Davis, with his wife, Gloria, and our minister, Rev Christopher Damp, who led worship, and welcomed Paul to the church.