Sunday Worship – 25th June 2023

(All our songs this morning are from Singing the Faith (StF) Mission Praise (MP) and Hymns and Psalms (H&P) numbers will be given where available)

Welcome to our Sunday Service, today shared on paper across our circuit and with the congregation at Saltaire Methodist Church and led by Rev Christine Crabtree, one of our Circuit Ministers. This is a baptism service, and gives us the opportunity to reflect on our own baptism, if we have been baptised: the promises made to us and on our behalf, which for some of us will have been remembered and re-pledged during a service of confirmation.

Click on the blue links to follow them for bible readings and associated links

Welcome  We come to worship God, who is Father of all, and who receives all children who come to him.

Song – StF 103 or HP 36 God is love: let heaven adore him


Loving parent of us all,
you pour your love out upon us.
You do not stop to ask if we are ready,
or if we deserve it,
or even if we will return it.
You love us lavishly and unconditionally.
We can be held in your love in the midst of all that happens in our lives.
We grow and change and find that you too, grow and change;
so that we can still recognise you,
yet realise there is more to you than we can ask or even imagine.
You are beyond our limitations,
yet you are as close as our breath,
the Spirit you breathe into us.
Help us today to see something of how long and wide and high and deep
is the love of God, poured out on us.


Why do we baptise children?

The early church baptised those who had come to faith.  Over time, preparation for baptism became longer, involving instruction and the learning of a creed, and the baptism service would take place on Easter Sunday morning. 

As time went by, church members wanted to include children in the family of God, recognising that for all of us, God has loved us before we could know it, and has graciously waited for us to respond. John Wesley called this ‘prevenient grace’ – the grace of God that is there for us before we can know it.

In the baptism service, there is an explanation of baptism, and we then ask the parent(s) of the child to be baptised:

Having heard these things, how do you respond to the offer of God’s grace?
and they reply:
We thank God, and ask that our child be baptised.

Song – StF 440 or HP 215 Amazing Grace

Reading: Isaiah 43:1-7

In our baptism service we ask the parents, ‘What name have you given this child?’ and they tell everyone the child’s name.

In this passage from Isaiah, we are told that God calls us by name. He knows us. In biblical times, names were not just a way of knowing who was who; they were carefully chosen and each had meaning.  In the story of Abraham and Sarah, when Sarah finally gave birth, they called their son Isaac, meaning laughter, because God had brought them laughter. When Jacob married Leah and Rachel, Leah called the first of her sons Reuben, meaning ‘See, a son’, and when Rachel eventually had Joseph, his name means ‘he adds’, as she was hoping that God would add another son to the first.

When I once asked a group of women in a fellowship meeting how they had got their names, a number of them expressed dislike of their names, and wished they had been called something else. Their idea of what their name meant or sounded like, did not fit their image of themselves.

Stephen and I have named our puppy Lydia.  The name means ‘beautiful’ and ‘noble’.  Beautiful she certainly is, but she may have to grow into noble!  When she is darting around with her toys, or doing a head over heels against our legs, or sleeping on her back with her legs in the air, she does not look very noble! But as she grows and calms down, we may see more of that in her.

Whatever we think of our name, it is precious to God. When God calls us by name, our name is not just the sound that we respond to.  Our name is who we are.  God knows us through and through, and he sees how we are becoming ourselves. Hear him call you by name in the next part of the baptism service.

Song – MP 115 or SF 1213 Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you

For you

God’s love is there for us from the beginning, before we knew about it.

for you Jesus Christ came into the world;
for you he lived and showed God’s love;
for you he suffered death on the Cross;
for you he triumphed over death,
rising to newness of life;
for you he prays at God’s right hand:
all this for you,
before you could know anything of it.
In your Baptism,
the word of Scripture is fulfilled:
‘We love, because God first loved us.’

This is reflected in the words we say to the child:

Read those words through again.

You may have been present at a number of baptisms when this is said to the child, but if you were baptised as a child, you won’t remember these words being said to you.  Take time now to ‘hear’ them being said to you.  If you were never baptised, these words are still offered in the love of God for you.

Can you picture yourself as a child, being held by God?

Can you accept that if you had been the only one, Jesus would still have offered himself to you?

Can you hear him call you by your name, and tell you that you are his?

Spend some time marvelling at the depth of his love for you, and simply accepting it.

Reading: Mark 10:13-16

In a baptism service, everyone present blesses the child with these words:

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine on you 
and be gracious to you;
the Lord look on you with kindness
and give you peace.  Amen.

We follow Jesus’ example of blessing the children who came to him – those whom the disciples would have turned away, thinking that Jesus had more important people to see.  Jesus pointed out that children have a special place because they come trustingly and acceptingly.

At a baptism service, parents and godparents make their promises to bring up the child in the Christian faith, and live in such a way that the child may come to know about Jesus.  We also always make a promise as church, because we recognise that we are part of the upbringing of these children.

Members of the body of Christ, we rejoice that this, our little sister/brother, has been baptised.
Will you so maintain the Church’s life of worship and service that s/he may grow in grace and in the knowledge and love of God and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord?
With God’s help we will.

How will we keep our promises?

How will we contribute to the Church’s life of worship and service in such a way that others are helped to grow in grace and in faith?

What kind of a welcome do we offer?

What barriers are put in the way of those who are not used to church?

Since we live in an age when few come to church, how can we make people welcome, and make our services more accessible, so that they might perceive God?

Song – StF 663 or StF 830 I the Lord of sea and sky

Prayers of intercession

We pray for children being baptised today and this month;
we pray for their parents and their godparents, and all who have made promises,
that by your grace you will enable them to keep those promises
and come with their families to deeper faith in you.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for our schoolchildren, especially those coming to the end of exams,
waiting for results, and wondering what their future will hold.
We pray for teachers, giving thanks for their dedication and care for their children.
We pray for social workers making big decisions for families on a daily basis.
May we offer our prayers and support to those we know who work in these areas.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for children who are afraid;
those in Ukraine contending with war and now flooding from the destroyed dam;
those in Sudan, Yemen, Afghanistan;
and the children in the playground in Annecy, France, when the man with the knife came.
We pray that these and all our children might find peace, safety and healing.
Lord in your mercy,  hear our prayer.

We pray for ourselves, your children,
that we might come closer to you and find joy in your presence;
and that we might share our faith  
in words and actions that make a difference to the lives of others.
Lord in your mercy,  hear our prayer.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.  Amen.

Song – StF 526 or HP 552  Lord of all hopefulness


May God the Father who loves us, bless us with joy.
May Jesus who blessed little children, bless us with his presence.
May the Holy Spirit who created us, bless us with new life.
May God bless us, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

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