Pastor Melbaís Reflections
I had a wonderful discussion with a member of Trinity, Mt. Oliverís congregation recently and the discussion made me think I should pass on some things we discussed.
Why are we not using the baptismal font with the angel on it?
While that font is a beautiful piece of art and a wonderful addition to our sanctuary, it is very impractical. The area that holds the water is too small to place the shell into it to get water, it is too small for an adult hand to fit into, and you cannot lay a childís head over the basin to pour the water. The council has researched where this beautiful piece came from and decided we could use it for our prayer corner.
Why is the baptismal font in the middle at the front?
In the Lutheran tradition, the baptismal font is placed as you come in the door or at the center of the worship space. Yes, it does make it a bit crowded when trying to step to the altar, but... when you come into the Lordís house, you are to remember whoís you are and to remember the baptismal promise. This should be upmost on your mind when you enter into the sanctuary for service or for private prayer.
Why do I introduce the entire family of one we are baptizing instead of just the parents and the sponsors?
A baptism is a wonderful event for the family of Trinity (Mt. Oliver) to be a part of and to make the promise of nurturing that person on their faith walk. Sometimes the families do not attend church, but want their child baptized. I will never say Ďnoí to anyone wanting to be baptized. The attention we give to that family shows that we really do care about them and want to be a part of this celebration. At the recent baptism of Hailey, one of the family members told me on the way out the door that he had not been in church for a long time because he didnít like it, but that he really enjoyed this service and wants to come back. That statement alone proves how nurturing our visitors and caring for those outside our congregation can further the Kingdom of God. This is stewardship in its finest form.
Why do I have the children ages 16 and under come up for the baptism?
Wonderful questions! It has been the tradition for several years now to baptize infants instead of waiting until confirmation age as was done once upon a time. Therefore, the children do not remember their baptism. Also, they tend to be short and cannot see over the adults in the pews. I like the children where they can see the act of baptism and I want them to come up and place the sign of the cross on their own foreheads to remind them they are also a child of God.
Children should be taken to the crying room instead of running around!
I can tell you that this statement makes me so excited I can hardly stand it! If we are concerned with the children crying or running around during the service, it means that families are bringing them to church! It means we are experiencing growing pains! It means we are alive and well! I will say over and over again, THE CRYING CHILDREN AND CHILDREN ACTIVE DURING SERVICE IS A GOOD THING! Once we have grown to the point that we have five or six little ones that want to run everywhere, then we need to look at having a nursery during the service so the parent can actually attend church and hear the service. We adults need to set a good example to the children by not talking during the service and being prayerful and attentive. Children learn from example very well. We also need to look after one anotherís children especially if the mother has more than one little one. Ask the mother if she would like you to help her with the children and be a good steward.
I want to say again, that conversations like the above are welcomed anytime. I would rather you talk to me and find out the reasons behind things than to let it sit in the pit of your stomach and give you an ulcer or talk among yourselves and not include me in the conversation. Thank you for your attention and your concerns.
Pittsburgh Lutheran United Ministries (PLUM), 405 Kennedy Avenue, Duquesne, PA 15110 412-466-7773