Get Married and Baptize Your Child at the Same Time

By Sadie Bass

Jul 23, 2009 11:54am

ABC's Cornelia Treptow reports from London: In an attempt to make it more relevant for the 21st Century, the Church of England will unveil a radical u-turn today on 2000 years of history and tradition. Arguably turning its back on long-held teachings, the Church is set to offer couples the opportunity to baptize their children during the same ceremony where they will tie the knot. And just in case the parents missed out, they, too, will be given the option of being baptized at the same time.   Part of a range of schemes intending to modernize the Church’s image, the so-called ‘hatch ‘n’ match’ ceremonies are said to be marketed at unmarried parents to encourage them to get hitched.  Other measures include exhibiting at wedding fairs, and offering workshops to help couples prepare for their services and the vows. The new services are meant to show that the Church is adopting more liberal attitudes with respect to the realities and beliefs associated with modern life.  However, the Church has noted that it does not sanction having sex before marriage, and the guidelines will not force members of the clergy to perform the new 2-in-1 ceremonies if they do not feel comfortable with them. Supporters of the new ceremony claim that the new services not only modernize the Church but in tough economic times also offer couples the opportunity to save some money.  Joint receptions, in particular, are being viewed as a positive thing. This has not dampened criticism of the new scheme with many believing that it is simply trivializing the role of the Church. Critics claim that the new ceremonies allow people to simply get married in the Church without accepting any of the other facets that come with belonging to the Church and its community. Some have also raised objections over the fact that these ceremonies break away from the traditions associated with them. Stephen Parkinson, from the Anglo-Catholic group Forward in Faith, told the Times of London that “the proper place for a baptism is not during a wedding but during the Sunday morning act of worship so the congregation can welcome a new Christian. It is a shame that what should be a bride’s day now stands to be hijacked by screaming kids.”

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