The Episcopal Church of St. Mary-in-the-Highlands, Cold Spring, once again offers “Open Baptism” at their 7 p.m. Easter Vigil on Saturday, April 19.

Father Shane Scott-Hamblen
Father Shane Scott-Hamblen

“I know this seems highly ‘unorthodox’ and perhaps even ‘gimmicky’ to some,” the Rector of St. Mary’s, Fr. Shane Scott-Hamblen, explained, “but St. Mary’s hopes to show that the church exists to include people — not to exclude them.”

On Holy Saturday night, the church will continue to welcome — with “no questions asked” — any un-baptized person who wants to be baptized.

Those interested are requested to call Fr. Shane (845-265-2539) or arrive at the church around 6:40 p.m.

St. Mary’s is reaching out to all those who have been denied baptism for whatever reason. They hope that parents or adults who forgot or “never quite got around to it,” as well as those who were formerly turned away, will take full advantage of this invitation — as many other families have in the last several years.

For Christians around the world, Holy Week is the most solemn time of the year enacting Christ’s last days before his Crucifixion and Resurrection. “I know this ‘invitation’ seems to be controversial for a few who believe we are offering “cheap grace,” admitted Fr. Shane, “but our understanding is that grace is never cheap — it is free.”

The Maundy Thursday Mass will be at 7 p.m. on April 17. (The candle-lit church will remain open until midnight for anyone who wants to pray in the Gethsemane Chapel.) The Ecumenical Good Friday Service will be April 18 at noon, with the village clergy carrying in a life-size cross. The Great Easter Vigil will be at 7 p.m. April 19.

Easter Morning Masses will be at 8 and 10:30 a.m. Sunday School is during the 10:30 Mass and the Children’s Easter Egg Hunt will be held on the great lawn following the 10:30 Eucharist.

St. Mary-in-the-Highlands is located at the corner of Routes 9D and 301, Cold Spring. Call 845-265-2539 or visit Absolutely everyone is welcome.

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6 replies on “Open Baptism at St. Mary’s for Easter”

  1. Exactly the reason why Episcopalians are losing members in droves, either gravitating to the Catholic Church or fundamentalist sects or even establishing their own congregations hewing to more traditional practices.

  2. This gesture reminds me of some of the breaks with tradition that Pope Francis has made. And I am heartened by these kinds of gestures where service to the community, humility and compassion are offered to all who need it.

  3. I am under the impression that just about all churches are losing members in droves. I think the former Baptist Church in Nelsonville was in trouble until it became reorganized as the Church on the Hill; I have bought baked goods many times from the bake sales held at Foodtown by the Methodist Church on Route 9 in Garrison; and I remember reading a plea written to .Info last year (or so) asking support for the Methodist Church in Nelsonville so that it will still be here for us when we may need the very real help a church can provide. Loss of membership is not limited to any one church or denomination or to any one reason.

  4. The Pope has not broken one tradition; he has substituted stylistic change for substantive change.

  5. The opportunity for an Open Baptism is a most sincere invitation to Christian believers to act in accordance with the Word of God. The spiritual transformation of baptism coinciding with the culmination of the season of Lent is greatly symbolic of the death and resurrection of Christ and demonstrative of a true act of faith and obedience. Our family was blessed to have been baptized by Father Shane and very warmly welcomed into St. Mary’s during this most Holy Christian season.

  6. Did the pastor ask if the person was a Christian, believed in the resurrection? It was open season it seems – no questions asked.

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