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SUNDAY, 17th SEPTEMBER - Baptisms and Confirmations

Baptisms in Lake Coniston

Several members of the congregation made a hasty departure after morning service at St. Paul’s to travel to Brown Howe Car Park on the shore of Coniston to meet up with the congregation from St. Mary’s, Allithwaite, and Toby Wheatcroft and his family. It was a glorious day for Toby to be baptised in the lake together with Margaret from Allithwaite.  Margaret, in her 80s, was renewing her baptismal vows.  When the Revds Rachel and Andrew were ready we all gathered at the water’s edge for the short service of preparation.  

Then the moment arrived for first Margaret and then Toby, supported by the strong arms of Rachel and Andrew, to be immersed in the lake water.  Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your point of view, Andrew lost his footing on both occasions and was well immersed too!  Back on the shore Toby and Margaret were welcomed into the Lord’s family by everyone.  After all the formalities were over several of those present “enjoyed” a short but cold swim before getting dry   and making for home to prepare for the evening Comfirmation and First Communion Service.  It was a very uplifting afternoon in wonderful sunny surroundings.  I wonder how we would have felt if the weather had not been on God’s side.

Confirmation at St Mary's, Allithwaite

What a privilege it was to attend the evening service at St Mary’s, Allithwaite, to support our own Toby Wheatcroft and Sue Simpson as they were confirmed as full members of the Church of England by Bishop James.  There were 7 candidates in all who were presented, three from St Mary’s Allithwaite – Andrew Bell, Archie Bennett and Heather Smith, two from St John’s Flookburgh – Holly and Paige Bingley, and the two from St Paul’s.  The Bishop was the celebrant and preacher and he was supported by the Revd Rachel Stavert, the Revd Jonathan Gillespie from St Mary’s Windemere, and our own Curate, Andrew.  Toby read the Gospel from St Matthew which tells the story of the Roman centurion appealing to Jesus to heal his servant;  Heather led the intercesssions.  The candidates were invited to share something of their story with the congregation, and Andrew, Sue and Toby gave very moving accounts of how they had reached their decision.  The Bishop then addressed each candidate by name.  He laid his hands on the head of each of them in turn, asking God to confirm them with his Holy Spirit, and he anointed them with the oil of Chrism.  Turning to the congregation, the Bishop then invited us to reaffirm our own profession of faith in Jesus Christ.  The service then moved on to the Eucharist, and the 7 candidates took their first communion, followed by the rest of the congregation.  This music both before and during the service was led by St Mary’s music group; the hymns were modern, and the collection is to be divided between the Grange Youth Trust  and the Diocesan Growth Fund.  As the Bishop closed the service with the Blessing he reminded us to remember Andrew, Archie, Holly, Paige, Sue, Heather and Toby in our prayers in the coming weeks as they continue on their journeys of faith.


It was a very special occasion as we were able to celebrate with the candidates and their families.  It was an important part of our own spiritual journeys that we were able to demonstrate our support.