I found myself in a conversation today about 'who would you marry or baptize?'
Everyone in the room, I imagined, though I don't take a poll, would do the funeral of anyone who wanted to be buried from their church.
I realized that I would baptize, marry or bury ANYONE who wanted it.
(A piece of droll Episcopal priest humor: baptize, marry and bury are referred to as "Hatch, Match and Dispatch" behind closed doors.)
I've baptized babies who would not grow up in the church and married couples that would never darken the church door again and buried people who would be in church for the first time on the day of their funeral.
My belief is that having God in your life, if only for that one time, is better than never having God in your life. Just me talking, you understand.
Some priests have a different view, and I can understand their position. It's just not mine.
And their are side effects. I require baptismal and marriage counseling and sometimes that plants a seed I didn't even know was planted.
In my 21 years at St. John's in Waterbury, I have many examples of how the seed that was planted came to bloom.
But the most startling was a couple I married years and years ago who weren't members. They were both ex-Roman Catholics and not welcomed to marry in the churches they had attended as kids. But I officiated at their marriage. And then, though they still hadn't joined St. John's, I baptized their son. They still didn't attend, but when the son was Sunday School age, they started coming. Eventually they served on altar guild, vestry and as a musician for the 8 a.m. service. And their son was confirmed. And they kept coming.
Planted seeds that I was around long enough to admire the blooms.
And I could tell you about dozens of people who came to a funeral at St. John's and, being un-churched, started attending.
I will Hatch, Match and Dispatch anyone.
Planting seeds as I do so.
Letting God be involved in someone's life often makes a big difference.
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