Well, that’s the headline in the Mail. The reality is more sensible and straightforward. A group of clergy in challenging parishes in the Diocese of Liverpool noted their experience (I have heard other clergy say the same thing) that the rich and formal language of the Common Worship Baptism Service sometimes failed to resonate with congregations. So a request has come up to General Synod via Diocesan Synod which boils down to some simpler alternatives being provided to use instead of the main texts when that would help. I’d be suprised if anyone actually wants to change our theology or “dumb down” baptism.
Here are two quotes, one from the diocesan paper, and one from the briefing paper prepared for General Synod:
The Church of England is a church whose doctrine and patterns of worship are intimately linked. The authorized liturgical texts of the church represent the mind of the broader church and offer good practice for worship and the formation of the people of God. These texts are embodied in law and ministers who choose to disregard them are on uncertain territory. Whilst some may break new ground for the wider church to follow, others will find themselves in cul-de-sacs. There was a general spirit among the high IMD clergy that they wanted to stay within the provision of the church as far as possible but that some of it was simply too inaccessible for the communities they served. As many who attend baptism services are not used to the language and practice of the church, the issue of accessibility was a particularly strong one in this case.
What the Liverpool Diocesan Synod Motion proposes is not a replacement or revision of the Common Worship Christian Initiation services but the provision of three additional texts, as alternatives to
the two existing forms of the Decision, the four existing forms of the Prayer over the Water, and the Commission… If the Synod were to pass the Liverpool Diocesan Synod Motion, the House [of Bishops] would be content to request the Liturgical Commission to prepare the drafts for the three supplementary texts involved.http://www.churchofengland.org/media/1163488/gs%201816b.pdf