We have received many phone calls and emails recently about arranging Baptisms in the parish. When we entered lockdown in March all services in the churches were closed including baptisms. This meant that the many baptisms that had been booked in had to be postponed, this totals around 50. When restrictions were lifted and we were permitted to reopen the parishes churches a decision was made to not open them fully. This meant tough decisions had to be made in relation to the many services we take, including, Sunday worship, weddings, funerals and baptisms.
It was decided for the safety of everyone that there would be a phased return which saw St. Aidan's church open at the beginning of August for Sunday services only with a booking system in place. This was followed at the beginning of September with the re opening of St. Cuthbert's and St. Peter's for funeral and weddings only.
We have been having discussion about when we re open for Baptisms and how we will do this safely. You can imagine that with the restriction that were put upon us a few month ago the system we were operating before lockdown would not work and we were about to contact all those families who baptism were postponed because of COVID. As you need to appreciate these postponed baptisms need to be rebooked before any new baptisms can be accepted.
However, just when we were about to begin contacting these families, new restrictions were put into place which means that only 6 people are permitted at a baptism. This would I am sure make it very difficult to undertake and for families to decided who should attend, especially if they are a big family unit. It would mean that grandparents may not be able to attend and also all the godparents.
To save on this logistical nightmare we have decided as the parish not to begin doing baptisms again until the latest restrictions are lifted and some form of normality can be resumed.