I attended St. Aidan’s again last Sunday. It was Pentecost Sunday, celebrated on this occasion with the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion. The paper doves from the week before’s café worship were on show, suspended from balloons filled with helium floating above us or hanging from items of furniture and interior architecture. There was a similar mixture of ages present as at the café worship.
The structure of this service, not surprisingly, followed a more traditional reformed pattern than the café service. There were two hymns, the second being sung in two segments, the first after the baptism and the second segment at the close of the service. The music was provided by a pianist, and the pianist also played some “music for the soul” after the reflection. Congregational responses provided opportunities for congregational participation throughout the service. The congregation was also invited to share the peace with one another using a response projected on the screen. Again children were involved in carrying the Bible and taking up the offering. The children stayed in for the whole service.
The baptism was an adult baptism. Roxy’s reflection for the day was on the significance of baptism and its part in believing and belonging. It prepared the congregation for the administration of the sacrament. The candidate for baptism was supported by her family and by members of the congregation. She was presented with a lighted candle, lit from the Christ candle, to symbolise her passing from darkness into the light of Christ. After her baptism, she gave a moving testimony of how important receiving this sacrament was to her, having grown up under Communism in the former Soviet Union. It was a sobering reminder for us not to take our baptism for granted.
The liturgy for the sacrament of Communion was a “responsive” liturgy with plenty of participation from the congregation. Communion is celebrated monthly at St. Aidan’s. Communion wafers were used instead of pieces of fresh bread. The bread and wine were served using “intinction,” a method where the bread (wafer) is dipped in the wine and consumed. People came forward and formed two lines – there were two serving stations. This method enabled the congregation to be served reasonably quickly.
As well as the actual worship, the service also included a congregational meeting for the purpose of electing new elders and electing congregation members for the Ministry Settlement Board being formed. It dovetailed nicely into a service that emphasised among other things the life of the St. Aidan’s community, part of the body of Christ.