Tag Archives: baptism
Charlie Chaplain’s Tales
X…. & Y….. were long term clients at the old Crichton Royal Hospital here in Dumfries.
They were virtually inseparable and the best of buddies….. most of the time.
Every Sunday morning there was a half-hour service of worship in the magnificent Church on site, and both would attend most weeks…. but never on time; having sung the first hymn, during the prayer that followed, the door would be flung open with an almighty crash, and in would come the two amigos.
One of them – and this was during the prayer, remember – in a loud voice would greet the congregation with a booming “HULLO!!!”
Luckily, my prayers there were extemporised, so I was able to stop in mid-flow, and welcome them (as did the others present)
It was also usually their custom, just as I began the Homily, to get up and walk out – with a wave from one of them and the shouted valediction, “Byee!!”
Now, we had occasional Baptisms administered during these Sunday Services – the babies of hospital staff members, or the new grandchildren of NHS workers.
On one particular Sunday, one side of the Kirk was almost full with family and friends gathered for the administration of the Sacrament.
For once, the two pals were early, and sat on the other side of the aisle from the Baptismal party and guests.
Something must have been said or done, but within minutes of their arrival, an amazingly vicious and brutal punch-up kicked off.
And “kicked off it did” ….. and how!
Spilling out of their seats, the two guys ended up in the aisle beside the gobsmacked visitors who certainly weren’t expecting this cabaret of violence.
There was a look of horror – indeed, fear in some cases – on their faces, as the two combatants got stuck into each other, punching, eye-gouging, banging heads off the floor, kicking each other.
One of our regulars (a member of staff) and I managed to separate them. A phone call was made to their ward, and off they went – under escort.
When the dust settled, I welcomed everybody warmly “on this very special day”, “filled with joy and happiness” – and I wasn’t being ironic.
Fast forward to the following Sunday; at the end of the first hymn, the door was flung open, and the familiar voice rang out loudly, “HULLO!!!” And in trooped the two chums – the very best friends, of course.
Charlie Chaplain’s Tales
Without sounding flippant, one of our mental health patients, who was extremely bright and clever, asked me, in my role of Healthcare Chaplain, to baptise him. We talked about this for several weeks, explaining the importance and the implications.
We came to the “big day” and I administered the Sacrament, after which I started to say the Aaronic Blessing – “The Lord bless you and keep you” – immediately to be interrupted by the newly baptised: “I bloody well hope so!”
I remembered this yesterday, after 40+ years!
Students for the Ministry are under the supervision of the Presbytery within whose bounds they live.
At some point, near the end of their academic course, they are interviewed by a committee of presbyters – on a variety of aspects of Church matters.
At my meeting with the wise men of Dumbarton Presbytery, I was asked at one point by the Convener of this education committee about the Sacraments.
He asked – straightforwardly – “What is the element used in Baptism?” To which the answer – obviously – is “water”
Then the daft follow up: “What would the ‘Desert Fathers’ have done then?”
My reply: “I’m sure they would have found an obvious way to extemporise”. Think about it! Then added, “I don’t think that they were members of the Kirk anyhow!”
This humourless Rev didn’t say anything, but I think that I may have been on the cusp of being asked to “get my coat” (or – in ecclesiastical terms to p*** off; as opposed to the ‘Desert Fathers’ p***ing on)
Jimmy who is always drunk stumbles upon a baptism on Sunday afternoon down by a river.
He proceeds to walk down into the water and stand next to the preacher. The minister turns and notices the old drunk and says, "My son, are you ready to find Jesus?" Jimmy looks back and says, "Yes sir" The minister then dunks him under the water and pulls him right back up. "Have you found Jesus?" the preacher asked. "Nooo!" said the drunk. The preacher then dunks him under for quite a bit longer, brings him up and says, "Now, brother, have you found Jesus?" "Noooo, I still didn't find him." The preacher in disgust holds Jimmy under for at least 30 seconds this time, brings him out of the water and says in a harsh tone, "My God, man, have you found Jesus yet?" Jimmy wipes his eyes and says to the preacher..."Are you sure this is where he fell in?"
Prince of Wales to Dr Chartres: “I say, old bean, there was no need to bring your own plate with you; we’ve got more than enough for the Christening tea-party”
I was once asked to be on a small committee (two ministers, two elders and the convener) to have talks with a particular minister whose congregation and office- bearers had fallen out of love with him.
He was always right and they (particularly his elders) were wrong.
One bone of contention was that he would ignore members of his church and pass them in the street without acknowledging them. Same if he met them in one of the local shops or supermarket or post office.
Another problem was his refusal to allow the spouse of a church member to stand with his/her wife/husband at a baptism service. Only the member was there by the font, while her/his partner was banished to the pews. The non member, in other words, was not allowed to make the baptismal promises with his/her partner.
This, of course, led to murmurs of discontent and rebellion amongst the good folks of that congregation.
So, it’s Showtime or Showdown time with meeting number one – the little committee, the elders and the Reverend Superior.
Our convener went for the gentle approach, explaining that we weren’t there with them to take sides or to be judgmental; rather, to help, guide and support and to find some resolution.
After this introduction, she said something along the lines of “Now what would solve this situation?”
An old Elder creakingly got to his feet, looked long and hard at his Minister, pointed to the latter and in a voice full of emotion: “Get rid of HIM!!!! ”
Thereafter, it was chaotic, with accusations flying backwards and forwards, the convener in tears at one point and nobody willing to budge an inch.
What was it that Gandhi said: “I like your Christ but not your Christians”
Yup, now let’s all join in singing “bind us together” followed by “they’ll know we’re Christians by our love”
He left about a year later
THE LOST CHILD
It was a glorious sunny Sunday and, at the small village church, we awaited the arrival of the baptismal party.
Father arrived first, followed a few minutes later by Mum.
“Where’s the baby?” I asked them.
Mother turned to Dad and said, “You were supposed to bring him while I finished getting dressed”
And he replied, “You said that you would bring him, once you were ready!”
Jokingly (never make jokes that folk with a humour by-pass don’t get), I said “Why don’t we just go ahead with the service and I’ll baptize the wee fellow in absentia?”
“Oh, can you do that?” (duh!)
Luckily, a few minutes later, the godmother appeared with the infant – explaining, “It was such a lovely day and I thought that we’d be too early – so I took Tyrone for a wee walk in his buggy”
A pre-baptism visit to the happy couple……
“And the baby’s name is?”
Big Izzy, the mother of the infant: “Kylie”
“Ah”, says I ‘ she ‘should be so lucky””
Father, wee Hughie, interrupts “That’s no her name!”
Big Izzy: “That’s whit’s on her birth certificate!”
Hughie: “Aye, ‘cos you registered her! You know that I wanted her tae hae ma Ma’s name”
Izzy: “Yer Ma’s a horrible wee wummin”
Me:”What is your Mother’s name, Mr Torrance?”
Hughie: “Unity Nicola”
Izzy: “Unity? Jeeze, that one would cause a fight in an empty room”
Hughie: “You know full well that she was cried Nicola or Nikki – she didnae like Unity”
Me: “OK, Mr and Mrs Torrance, you’ve got to come to a decision. “You’ve ‘Got to be certain‘ about what we call Kylie”
Izzy: “to keep the peace, we’ll have his Mam’s names as middle names. ‘Cos, Hughie, I luv ya – but yer mother’s still an auld besom”.
So it was to be Kylie Unity Nicola Torrance
I left, my head ‘spinning around‘
It was only when I got home that I realised the full horror of what little Kylie was to be named: Kylie Unity Nicola Torrance – work it out yourselves from the initials
(verily I say unto you – the above story is true, apart from the large chunks that are pure fabrication!)
THE TWO AMIGOS
The Two Amigos (see below: post “Crichton Church Services” 13 July 2013) were the best of friends, but sometimes they would fall out…. and on this particular occasion, big time!
The Church was open to everyone, patients, staff, those who liked a half-hour early Sunday service (9.15)
Occasionally, a nursing member of staff – usually from the Infirmary – would ask me to baptise their child or grandchild.
So one Sunday morning, here we all were – the Baptismal party and their family and friends – about 30 of them – sitting on the left hand side of the Church and all dressed in their finery.
I guess that most of the “guests” didn’t realise that this was the Church for the Crichton Royal Hospital which cared for those with mental health problems.
They soon did so! The side door was violently flung open and in came the two amigos – late as usual. No smiles nor waves this time; obviously, they had been bickering about something.
The bickering turned into squabbling. The squabbling turned into pushing then punching.
And the two ended up in the aisle next to where the baptismal visitors were sitting. They rolled about on the floor, walloping each other, gouging, strangling ……. to the horror of the folks next to them (no doubt thinking, “What kind of Church is this?”)
We manged to separate them, their ward was phoned, and exeunt stage left by the vestry door.
And, nonplussed, I just carried on as if nothing had happened.
The next Sunday, we were all back to normal. Crash – the door thrown open – the two pals enter – a wave, a grin and a big “Hello!” to the congregation.
- Crichton Memorial Church Services (sandystrachan.wordpress.com)