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To feel completely and utterly alienated by the church of england

(55 Posts)
reallytired Mon 26-Sep-11 20:08:27

We want to get dd baptised. We have attended two meetings and the church wants us to have a service of thanks giving and then have visitors from the church before booking a date for the baptism service.

There was a very cheesy session on forgiveness. One of the parents said they struggled to forgive a particular man. (She gave no details) The priest said to her that you cannot have that attitude if you are going to get your baby baptised. I felt so sorry for the lady as I felt she had been judged on next to no evidence. None of us are perfect.

I struggle to forgive the man who held a piece of sharp glass to my throat at the age of 19 in an attempt to pressurise me into sex. Does that mean that I should not get my dd baptised?

Hassled Mon 26-Sep-11 20:10:26

I would find a different church. I'm not religious, but I've always liked the CofE tolerance and comparative broad-mindedness. Any other CofE churches that you could research?

Sirzy Mon 26-Sep-11 20:12:12

Like Hassled said I would find another church!!

I am C of E and never heard of any church/Vicar having that sort of attitude.

Minus273 Mon 26-Sep-11 20:13:34

I'm not CoE but I have found that some ministers have rather extreme views in comparison to other so I agree find another church if you can.

slavetofilofax Mon 26-Sep-11 20:15:21

Why do you want your dd baptised?

If you are truly religious, then you would be praying for the strength to forgive, and you would probably be able to see where the priest was coming from.

'Forgive those who trespass against us' and all that.

You can't just pick and choose the bits of religion that you like. Your inability to forgive is a human reaction, that I understand very well, and it doesn't mean that you shouldn't get your dd baptised if you want her bring her up in the religion. It just means that you should try to forgive, and if you really can't, then you should ask God to help you.

I'm not religious btw.

Marymaryalittlecontrary Mon 26-Sep-11 20:17:16

I think it's that particular church/vicar that's the problem, not the church of England as a whole. I'm CofE and my vicar will literally baptise anyone who wants it. He's also always going on about how being Christian is a journey and that noone lives a completely sin free life, him included.

ToothbrushThief Mon 26-Sep-11 20:18:52

YANBU to feel like this

...but YABU if you think this church should change to fit with your expectation

Leave it and go to some one/some church who welcomes you and your views.

ToothbrushThief Mon 26-Sep-11 20:21:13

My local CoE vicar refused to baptise a very ill baby who's grandmother attended his church because the parents didn't.....

Whilst he may feel he is ensuring baptism is for those with Christian faith only rather than as 'traditional' ceremony, he is also demonstrating a poor attitude

Allboxedin Mon 26-Sep-11 20:28:21

Christian or not we ALL have problems with forgiveness,having said that I have to agree with slave too, its a whole package and although maybe he could have gone about it in a different way, I don't really see the point in baptising a child when you don't really agree to what you are doing. You are dedicating the child to God and God requires forgiveness and a fair bit more. Its a pretty tough road if you want to walk it properly - I'm strugging, I find it long,tiresome and hard work but I know there is no short cut so I have to make sure I know what I believe in and know what I am doing.

wisecamel Mon 26-Sep-11 20:28:59

We're CofE and I've always thought that to 'struggle to forgive' is a virtuous thing which shows that your heart is full of love. It can be a life's work because some people have been through things that only a saint would be able to truly forgive. Therefore, to struggle with this is part of the human condition. The difference is that some people just carry their hatred with them without confronting it and they are closed to God until they realise the damage they are doing to themselves.

You and the other parent have been open and honest and FWIW, I think that the priest was wrong to say what he did. Still, the CofE is pretty broad and you're sure to find a local place with more open ideas so don't give up just yet, OP, especially if it's what you want for your DCs.

eicosapentaenoic Mon 26-Sep-11 20:33:04

IME no need to waste time, shop around till you find a nice friendly church + vicar + community you like, there's plenty of choice, all different. You'll find most of this stuff is made up, not CofE policy, as it were.

KeepInMind Mon 26-Sep-11 20:33:47

Your vicar/priest sounds a bit OTT

wisecamel Mon 26-Sep-11 20:35:22

ToothbrushThief, that's terrible, If it meant something to his grandmother (or anyone else) he should have been honoured to do it. I don't believe for a moment that unbaptised children are any different in the eyes of God anyway - Jesus loved all children, not just the ones with religious parents.

reallytired Mon 26-Sep-11 20:37:09

My family go to church almost every Sunday. I am not perfect and I do pray for help.

I feel that baptism should be about the baby, rather than judging the parents.

"My local CoE vicar refused to baptise a very ill baby who's grandmother attended his church because the parents didn't....."

That is awful. I hope that the hospital chaplain baptised the baby.

troisgarcons Mon 26-Sep-11 20:40:48

We have attended two meetings

hardly a committed churchgoer

I struggle to forgive the man who held a piece of sharp glass to my throat at the age of 19 in an attempt to pressurise me into sex.

If you were a christian, a true christian, you would have found forgiveness.

BUT this isnt a religious sounding board. Do what everyone else does when they want a better school/education for their child and lie

Ohmydays Mon 26-Sep-11 20:41:24

I am married to an Anglican vicar (eek) It doesn't sound like the lady you refer to was treated very sympathetically. However, if you read the liturgy of the baptism service it is really serious stuff. Through it you are making promises to God, the Church, friends and family as follows:
"Do you reject the devil and all rebellion against God?
I reject them.
Do you renounce the deceit and corruption of evil?
I renounce them.
Do you repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbour?
I repent of them.
Do you turn to Christ as Saviour?
I turn to Christ.
Do you submit to Christ as Lord?
I submit to Christ.
Do you come to Christ, the way, the truth and the life?
I come to Christ."

I think it is right that Churches help people understand the seriousness of those promises and what they mean. Unforgiveness is one of the 'sins' (see above) that separate us from God, so the Vicar is trying to check that you can make that promise with a clean conscience. He doesn't want you to say something you don't mean.

Generally on the issue of forgiveness, I think it does more harm to the person who hasn't forgiven then to the person from whom the forgiveness is witheld - it might stop you moving on - incredibly hard though it is and something I really struggle with often. It can bring an incredible release when we do grant that forgiveness.

If this is not something you are ready to do then you could consider a Thanksgiving service which is actually something we had for our daughter as I want her to be baptised as an adult after she has made her own decision to follow Jesus.

I don't think you should go somewhere else because you would still have to make those promises.

Hope this helps and apologies for the lengthy reply!

HawthornLantern Mon 26-Sep-11 20:45:32

This seems to be one of those times when for (I hope) the best of reasons the priest has created hurt rather than brought any sense of reconciliation or healing.

My personal view is that if you would like your child baptised you should go right ahead. I have always understood baptism to be opening the life of Christ to a new member - and certainly not some kind of entry exam for the parents. (I was brought up Catholic not CofE, but really cannot believe they are very different on this point).

Forgiveness and reconciliation are central to the Christian message and life but if someone is struggling to forgive then it suggests that that person is still experiencing pain from some past event. To condemn that person out of hand rather than to seek to provide comfort, support and hope of healing is the opposite of what Christianity is supposed to be. I am pretty sure Christ was quite specific on the point of not-judging people for their failings.

In practical terms, though, I think the other posters are right - a different church with a different vicar will probably be light years away from your experience here.

porcamiseria Mon 26-Sep-11 21:18:30

sounds like an odd church to me! try another

LisaD1 Mon 26-Sep-11 21:19:13

Our priest always told us that baptism was every babies right, it was their gift from the church and their welcome from God.

I would look for another church.

Minus273 Mon 26-Sep-11 21:35:16

"If you were a christian, a true christian, you would have found forgiveness"

That's a bit unfair troisgarcons. A true Christian *strives to do the right thing which includes forgiveness. Sometimes doing the right thing will be difficult. To admit to struggling to do the right thing is IMO good as it recognises your own failings and allows you to seek help with whatever you are struggling with. A good Priest, IMO, would help someone explore why they were struggling with something and help them to forgive and not dismiss them out of hand.

ToothbrushThief Mon 26-Sep-11 21:57:34

I'm with Ohmydays on this. My children are not baptised because that (to me) is 'signing them up' to a Christian faith when I strongly believe only an individual can do this.

You can't make a baby a Christian
You can thank God for him/her
You can promise to bring that child up in a Christian household.

troisgarcons post is typical of the sort of thing that makes normal mortals feel rejected by the church hmm

LilRedWG Mon 26-Sep-11 22:01:05

Please find another church! Christianity is not about being judgemental, as this priest seems.

ToothbrushThief Mon 26-Sep-11 22:07:11

I think this is honesty in a Christian

auschopper Tue 27-Sep-11 07:26:05

There aren't any brands of this franchise that more relaxed than CofE. I think that is pretty tame really. I think maybe what he/she was probably getting at is to accept the things in the past and move on.

unpa1dcar3r Tue 27-Sep-11 07:33:41

Sounds like this particular man has a problem with emotions to me (rather than the CofE as such)
What i mean is it's ok to feel angry/sad etc at a particular situation or at someone who has wronged you but it's how you deal with it; accept that this is as natural as feeling happy/joyful and that it's ok to express it.
That way you may be able to move on from it.
Sounds like he basically told you best to suppress this particular emotion which is IMO unhealthy.

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