After some months of preparing herself for it, and weeks of agonising on our part as to how to do it, Jane Robson was baptised at the hall on Saturday 11 July 2020. Having considered various options, we decided that we should indeed use the hall for the occasion, but with only those immediately involved present and with government guidelines observed as far as the occasion would permit.
It was all very brief, about 20 minutes in all, with none of the usual hugging and kissing, a partially empty hall and no music. Yet it was no less significant for all that: still the same miraculous event in which, by a simple action, Jane was ‘appealing to God’ (1 Peter 3:21) for adoption as his child. And that appeal, we are sure, was answered; Jane became what she had wanted to be: part of our ecclesial family and, more importantly, of the Lord’s.
That same evening, Jeff presided over a service which included several previously recorded musical items, notably instrumental items by the MacDonald trio, Jane herself singing ‘How deep the Father’s love for us’, and several musicians performing ‘How great thou art’, having been recorded separately in their homes. The service included a video recording of the baptism itself so that everyone could witness the event.
It was a wonderfully warm, relaxed service, enhanced by the virtual presence of something like 25 visitors, including Jane’s daughter in America, two of Jane’s friends from her former church, and several brothers and sisters whom she had known in her days as a member of Sunday School and Youth group at Newcastle-under-Lyme – such a happy reunion for them all.
So it was a happy day for all of us in the midst of so much that is strange and dispiriting. By the grace of God in Christ we have gained a new sister in Christ; what could be more encouraging and reassuring?