RSS Feed

A baptism in the Thames

A group of people are standing on a grass bank next to the River Thames in Bray, there is a boat on the water and two young teenage boys are preparing to be baptised.On a cold Sunday in March, 25 people from St Michael's Church, Bray, gathered by the nearby Thames River. Two brave young people from the Minecraft group were baptised in the river - the first full immersion baptism at the church for at least 50 years.

Since the Minecraft church group started in October 2020 at St Michael's Church, Bray, it has grown to a regular group of over 30 young people meeting online each month. It brings together young people from across the country and even other parts of the world, enabling them to continue being involved in church during the pandemic through a digital realm.

A young teenage boy is standing with his hands crossed over his chest at waist height in the river Thames with two adult men holding him ready to guide him under the water.The Revd Kevin Coyler, Pioneer Curate at the church, hosted in-person Minecraft days a few times a year where the young people could join for a day of games, food, a church service, and a time of reflection using the Contemplative Toolkit. One of these included a special baptism in the freezing River Thames and young people re-enacted the baptism in Minecraft. Inspired by what they had seen that morning.

Kevin reflects on the impact of Minecraft church on the young people:

“It has been wonderful to see the young people forming new and unlikely friendships with each other, both church goers and non-churchgoers and those of other faiths. The group has enabled young people, at all different stages of their faith journeys, to continue participating in church and developing their faith during the pandemic when it was so easy for them to drift away. The baptisms demonstrate how much the young people have grown in their faith being part of the group.”

The Revd Ainsley shares how worship and faith are incorporated into the Minecraft sessions:

“We don’t just get the kids together playing computer games, every bit is authentically Christian with prayer, ministry and liturgy inspiring the young people to create something in Minecraft from what they have heard.”

The success of Minecraft church in Bray has inspired Kevin and Ainsley to expand the network. They are now supporting other churches in the diocese and across other parts of the Church of England to start their own groups by offering taster days and sharing their learning.

Fresh expressions

Minecraft church is just one example of many pioneering fresh expressions of church in the diocese, those outreach activities which have become new worshipping communities or congregations.

Our New Congregations team is on hand with advice and support to help churches to grow and nurture their new congregation ideas. Find out more about fresh expressions and get in touch with the team.

Page last updated: Monday 7th August 2023 3:30 PM
Powered by Church Edit