The font in many churches is fairly portable, and it’s noticeable how often it is shoved out of the way, especially in smaller worship spaces. This is very unfortunate, as the Table, Font and Lectern make up the Trinity of furniture which should be focal in every Anglican Church.
Having the font near the entrance is symbolic of baptism being the sacrament of entry into Christ’s church.
Local Shared Ministry is derived from the belief that every baptised person has a ministry to fulfil. When we baptise children the priest says May you grow in the Holy Spirit, fulfil your ministry and follow Christ your whole life long.
Easter is the primary and ancient season of baptism, so it is the ideal time for LSM congregations to reaffirm their Commitment to Christian Service. This liturgy is very appropriate on the Day of Pentecost too (especially when candles are used).
This can be done as part of a service of baptism, by including either of the sections on p390 & 391 of ANZPB/HKMOA.
If there is no baptism, a liturgy can still celebrate our commitment to our baptism into Christ and our ministries. The people can also be invited to mark themselves with water which has been blessed in the font (this can happen after receiving communion, if convenient) and/or they can light a candle as a symbol of the light of Christ in their lives, as we often do at a baptism.
Another occasion when such a liturgy is appropriate is on or near the anniversary of the commissioning of the LSM unit. It is a great opportunity for thanksgiving and reaffirmation.
If time constraints are a consideration, there could be a Gospel reading only, with a short homily/reflection, and the Eucharistic form on p730 could provide the basis for the service. The Celebration of Baptism would appropriately come where the Affirmation of Faith would normally be included.
The Celebration of Baptism could include:
God’s Call p383
[A Prayer to consecrate the water (this could be the first half of p386)]
The Affirmation p387 & 388
Commitment to Christian Service p390 or 391
Instead of the Laying on of Hands, the congregation could say together an adaptation of the Prayer for Renewal:
Creator Spirit, rekindle in us your gifts of grace, renew our lives in Christ and bring to completion all that your calling has begun. Amen
[Candles could be lit from the Christ Candle here]
The Celebration of Faith
The Liturgy would continue with the Peace
This would be a very appropriate celebration when the Bishop is present, too!
N.B. Sometimes congregations fall into the trap of viewing ministry roles as “functions” only. This service helps us to refocus on the call of God, our common vocation in Christ, and the enabling of the Holy Spirit as the source of all ministry.