Sunday, 10 January 2016

Baptism on the feast of Christ's Baptism

On may way to St German's this morning, I had a phone call from Amjad, driving down from London to take part in Hamid's baptism. He'd missed the Almondsbury interchange turning and was approaching Ross-on-Wye on the M50, still an hour away. When I got to church, we made plans to defer the rite of Baptism until the end of the service, in case Amjad didn't make it in time. Thankfully, he arrived just as I was about to read the Gospel for the Feast of Christ's Baptism. Without rehearsal, Hamid's baptism proceeded as intended, with Hamid making his baptism promises in Urdu. Before the service, I finally got to read through with Hamid the transliteration of the baptismal formula into Urdu Amjad sent me, to check my pronunciation, and completed the rite without error, thanking God for having a good musical ear and memory.

Amjad brought his wife and three delightful young children with him. He is Pastor and Teamleader of the Kushkhabri Fellowship, whose 'Right Way' outreach projects helps people of Muslim origin enquiring about Christian faith, and supports converts. The fifty strong St German's congregation welcomed them warmly. Some expressed delight in being part of an event unique in their experience. Churchwarden Peter and doyenne of the congregation Gwyneth were Hamid's sponsors. She befriended him from the outset. "She is just like my grandmother" he said to  me on one occasion. Afterwards, Gwyneth said what a lovely experience it had been. She handed him his baptism candle during the ceremony. Hamid is a quiet man with a warm smile and smiling eyes. Today he was radiant.

During the Peace, I relieved him of his baptism candle and certificate, given during the ceremony, to allow him to circulate and greet one another. I handed it to someone else, and later I couldn't find it. Hopefully it will turn up sooner rather than later, as I need to countersign the certificate to establish its status for the benefit of his Tribunal hearing, this coming Thursday. Many a slip 'twixt cup and lip, as the saying goes.

The congregation sat down to an excellent three course lunch in the church hall after the service. There were more than expected, but plenty of food to go round, thanks to the generous imaginations of the cooking team. Hamid, Amjad and his family, also Jim Stewart his wife and toddler son sat down to lunch together and chatted. Jim is Wales Evangelical Alliance Welsh Assembly liaision officer. He started with EA when I was still at St John's, and has now been in post ten years. He and Amjad have recently got to know each other, as both work on advocacy relating to the freedom of people to convert to another faith. It's a subject fraught with social and political difficulties throughout the world.

After the meal, I drove over to Bristol to deliver Amanda's new computer kit, and set up for the first time a wireless printer. Not difficult once you know how, but something of a puzzle when you have to read small print on a sheet that's set out in six languages. The printer is an entry level Epson XP-235. Google Chrome's cloud print facility is something I'll have to get used to. I have tried setting up a wired network computer to work with a Chromebook via wi-fi, with unsatisfactory results, but that was a couple of years ago. Amanda's Chromebook and printer seemed to talk to each other as intended. If it goes on strike, I don't fancy troubleshooting.

As I was approaching Southmead, the car indicated that it was overheating again. I pulled into a garage and steam was issuing from the overflow tank. I put three litres in and drove carefully to Amanda's, then added another litre or so later when it had cooled. I returned home gingerly, to say the least, stopping four times because the overheat warning light kept flashing. The engine, wasn't overheating however, but I suspected the cooling system was far from full. I stopped at a garage and bought some radiator sealant, but the coolant level hadn't dropped enough to add any. The last leg, from Newport I did on the old A48, as a precaution, though heaven knows why, apart from it being safer to stop in an emergency as there are few late evening buses travelling this road late on a Sunday evening. I made it home OK. Tomorrow the car goes to N G Motors for repair.

No comments:

Post a Comment