The smile of God comes in baptism. When children smile families are happy. Your Child's Baptism explains clearly what infant baptism is for those contemplating baptising their child and addresses concerns that families may have at such a time. Excerpts from the Baptism service in A Prayer Book for Australia make this publication particularly useful in a local Anglican context.
The following review was written by Judy McAdam, pastoral care co-ordinator at St Paul's Cathedral Bendigo and appeared in 'The Spirit' magazine in December 2010.
"To have a new child is one of the big life-changing experiences. Life will, at every level, never be the same again. This birth brings the opportunity to dream dreams about what kind of person this tiny one will become, and also to look for the resources we bring to this task. We do this because the business of raising a child is, at rock bottom, holy ground.
"All parents know, at some level, that the presence of such human potential in a tiny frame is suffused by a sense of the numinous, of God. At the same time, all parents are busier than they ever thought possible, and are profoundly sleep-deprived! That so many still come to a place that is unfamiliar, maybe a bit more formal than they are used to, to request baptism for their child, is an occurrence already grace-filled.
"Too often we have tended to try to fill the heads of these parents with information, to attempt to teach the equivalent of a new language or of higher maths. And we want to squeeze it all into one or two rushed sessions in a strange space, at an inconvenient time of day! What a thing we try to do to the numinous, to God! To cap it off, the materials we give them are often done on the run.
"Imagine my joy to be presented with Your Child's Baptism, a recent publication from our very own national Anglican publisher, Broughton. This book does much to address both the dreams I have for an adequate tool to present the basics clearly, to speak to our humanity as well as the sense of wanting to tap into the riches available in baptism. It comes as a well presented, attractive package.
"I have run the booklet by a few families, both churched and unchurched, and received appreciative and thoughtful feedback from them all. They appreciated the sections into which it is divided: why baptism, before baptism, you and God, signs and symbols of baptism, and the day itself. Significantly, the longest section is devoted to questions people ask. This is a mere selection, and is clearly not exhaustive. Equally, though, it is a good beginning.
"The tone of each section of this publication differs, but is summed up in a sentence early in the booklet: God's smile comes in baptism. I like the balance between useful information and mystery reflected in this booklet, which I would be more than delighted to use in this parish."