We went to a baptism last Sunday. We took our seats on the sofa ‘pew’ in our sitting room with the iPad propped between us. We should have been in Cheltenham but my husband, Rob, was too unwell to travel, so we watched the live stream from my great-niece’s church as her son was baptised.

It was a very different service from that to which I am accustomed and began with a large music group and several worship songs. The group included two young boys – probably aged about 6 and 8 – both of whom were playing instruments. There were prayers and a long sermon before the baptism, which was administered according to the modern Church of England rite that we use in our church. The children, including the band members, came back from their Sunday school in time for William’s baptism. He was a very good boy throughout! We had more worship songs and finished with a very jazzy version of Amazing Grace.

I was pleased to be able to share the service with my great-grand-nephew, if only online, but I confess, I was rather out of my comfort zone. Rob, on the other hand, loved it from beginning to end and was very moved by it.

It set me thinking about the new pattern of services we are to trial at St. Peter and St Paul over the next few months and how different we all are in our approach to worship and in our spiritual needs. It is a great challenge in a town or village where one Anglican Church serves a great many people, all of whom need to be nourished in faith.

Of one thing I am certain, we do not worship a church system or a particular way of worship. I hope we all worship with integrity, and certainly we all worship the same omnipotent and omnipresent God, revealed to us in Christ. We are all supported by the Holy Spirit in our faith. We are all part of the world-wide Christian communion in its many and varied hues, though we are obliged to worship according to the customs of the Church of England – a very broad church. It can be challenging and confusing. I am sure there will be a temptation to indulge in our modern pick and mix approach – ‘well, I’ll go on that Sunday, but not on that one’

I hope that won’t happen, I hope we will all, including me, have the grace to try something different so that we are truly the Church of Christ in this place and not just a set of different congregations who never meet. It will require grace and patience, understanding and a sense of humour on everyone’s part – modern or traditionalist – and much prayer. God has a way, eventually, of getting everything right!

 [Jo Spray]