Sunday, 22 March 2020

Mothering Sunday, of Mothers and Baptism


Calling mother today
This Mothering Sunday was quite unusual, though it is commonly known as Mother’s Day, it is in fact supposed to be the Sunday when people visit their Mother church, usually, where you were baptised and it could be your local church. The extension to this is the opportunity to celebrate and honour one’s mother. [Mothering Sunday – Wikipedia]
These Coronavirus pandemic times have placed limitations on this celebration as the need for strict social distancing has closed places of worship and our mothers being more vulnerable members of society need to be protected from contracting the virus. It has meant keeping a distance from them. A friend posted visiting his mother where their social interaction happened in the front garden.
For me, I for the first time called my mother to wish her a wonderful Mother’s Day, I was taken aback at the sense of happiness, joy, and gratitude for calling her on this occasion. Then we talked about many other things as we do, between jest, banter, and seriousness. Obligatory prayers and advice, I felt good about it.
Memories of the Mother Church
Before I called, I dug up my Certificate of Baptism, I was baptised 45 years ago at the St Luke’s Anglican Church, Jos on the 31st of March 1975. The Venerable E. A. Oyetade conducted the baptism and the witnesses, long forgotten now, but friends of my parents and members of the church then were Mrs C. M. Obasoro, Alfred Olu Amanerimi who my mother said was from the Delta region of Nigeria, and Joseph Ajibade Kehinde.
My Certificate of Baptism with redactions.
Then, the church was in the Diocese of Northern Nigeria, until it was split off into the Anglican Diocese of Jos in 1980. This would be my mother church. It is however different from the church where I was confirmed some 6 years later at St Jude’s Anglican Church, Ijesha-Ijebu. [Anglican Diocese of Jos – Wikipedia]
I can only wonder about what has become of all these named people, whether the venerable rose up the church hierarchy to an archdeaconry or bishopric, I cannot seem to find any other information about him apart from what is on my certificate.
In the faith of my childhood
It is interesting that he wrote in my date of birth rather than my age as required by the column heading. The same can be said of the sponsors, they all have become part of my recorded history, faint memories in the minds of my parents of encounters in their son’s development of faith. People they trusted to stand as witnesses to my acceptance into the communion of the Anglican church.
Obviously, my acquaintance with other strands of Christian faith has led me to accept another baptism with full immersion in a river rather than the sprinkling of water at a font in the church building. To me, both are significant, I see the first like a baptism by John the Baptist and the second in Pentecostal circles as a baptism by the disciples of Jesus Christ, as Jesus himself did not baptise people, according to a narrative in the gospels. [BibleHub – John 4:2]
As I have written before, my wanderings in faith has led me back to the faith of my childhood in the Anglican Church. It is where I belong and find fulfilment.
Happy Mother’s Day!

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