Bap­tism of ire for Both­well fam­ily

Sunday Tasmanian - - News - JACK PAYN­TER

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.