There are few more joyful things to do in this world than a baptism service. Yesterday I got to baptise someone called Theodore, which of course means Gift of God. He rather enjoyed proceedings and I’ve seldom held a child more keen to jump right into the font.

People sometimes comment on how much babies seem to enjoy being baptised at St Mary’s. Some older folk sometimes say, “I thought they were supposed to cry….” to which I reply, “…and I think it is nicer if they don’t”.

Sometimes people even come out with that old medieval nonsense that the cry of a baby at a baptism is the devil coming out. Here’s your theology starter for 10: the devil ain’t in there in the first place.

If you want to make a baby cry at a baptism, here are the instructions:

  • hold them upside down
  • hold them so they can’t see anyone they know
  • use cold water
  • flick the water in their face with a large, hard shell
  • hold them as though you are frightened you are going to drop them.


  • hold them so they can see what’s going on – sitting on the side of the font is a good start
  • surround them with a sea of happy smiling faces
  • warm up the water
  • talk to them and mean what you say
  • keep parents in sight and free from anxiety themselves
  • lots of splashes


  1. Steven says

    Although I have drifted away from church a baptism never fails to move me. I can’t explain it but it always brings a slight tear of joy to the eyes. My eldest child, now 7, said that it was like I was baptising him while washing shampoo from his hair in the bath. And that nearly made me cry as well. Odd, ordinary and very holy.

  2. Sounds like you’re good at ‘otherwise’ baptisms Kelvin.

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