One of the delights I have as a priest at St Mary with St Alban is conducting baptisms. Although people can be baptised at any age, it’s usually babies and toddlers. When they come with their family, godparents, and friends, it is a joy to welcome them formally into the family of God.

As part of the service, Chrism Oil is used to anoint the candidate, making the sign of the cross on their forehead. It’s a sign that the child (or adult) is set aside to serve God as part of their Christian journey following Jesus our King.

When King Charles is crowned on Saturday 6th May, the most sacred part of the ceremony will be the anointing. The Archbishop of Canterbury will use holy oil to anoint the King’s head, hands and breast (heart) – a sign that the King is set aside to serve God throughout his reign. It is only after the anointing that the investiture and crowning take lace (outward signs of his holy calling to serve God and God’s people).

Celebrations will then follow. Not only the ceremonial ones (carriage procession, fly past, concert at Windsor) but the informal ones where friends and neighbours gather for parties in street and home, welcoming in a new era for our country.

At St Mary with St Alban we will celebrate with a special service at 10am on Sunday 7th May, followed by a Celebration Songs of Praise in the churchyard at 6pm that afternoon. Come and join us. And if you would like to be baptised or have your child baptised – please get in touch. We’d love to explore and celebrate with you.

Best wishes – and happy celebrating,

Revd Mary Hawes