Baptism of ire for Bothwell family
A FIFTH-GENERATION Bothwell family is devastated after being denied access to the local Anglican Church to baptise their newest member.
Anne Monks, whose association with the St Michael and All Angels Church dates before the 1930s when her grandparents married there, was hoping to have her three-month-old grandson, Jacob, baptised in the Bothwell church.
But she was shocked when the Midlands Parish would not allow her to hold the service there.
The church is closed, but has not yet been deconsecrated. It is also on the Diocesan Council’s proposed sale list to help fund a redress scheme for the victims of childhood abuse. When contacted by the
Sunday Tasmanian, the Midlands Parish said the request did not align with its baptism policy.
“As there is no congregation currently meeting in Bothwell, there is no public worship service in which the baptism could take place,” Bishop Richard Condie said.
He said the family was not refused baptism, but had been invited to hold it elsewhere.
Ms Monks said it would “mean so much” to them to hold the service at Bothwell given their long family history with the church.
She married her husband Neil at the church in 1984 and his funeral was held there after he died in October last year.
The couple were christened at the church in their younger days and both their parents are buried in the cemetery.
More than 30 Monks children have been christened at the church.
Ms Monks told the parish of her family’s long association with the church and said it had responded with little sympathy, describing its offer as “heartless and rude”.
“It’s made us very upset, we don’t want him [Jacob] christened anywhere else,” she said
She said the Bothwell community would have loved a final service at Bothwell be- fore it was potentially sold.
Ms Monks said she would have paid for a minister, to hire the building and clean it afterwards, but the offer was knocked back.
Mr Monks said it was “shattering” not to be able to baptise his son there.
“I can’t understand it, we are fifth generation of the area and we can’t use the church,” he said. “The church should always be open to the public.”
Southern Midlands Mayor Tony Bisdee said if the church was deconsecrated, he would have been able to understand the decision.
“These are very staunch Anglican members, the church is still available and it can’t be used,” he said.