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Today is my Adoption Day. I was adopted on this day 59 years ago. My single mother who had given birth to me in Saint Monica’s Home for Unmarried Mothers in Kendal gave me away to complete strangers and then went on with the rest of her life.

She left me with the label of “illegitimate”, which means nothing nowadays but meant a lot back then. I was at theological college in the 1980s when the law was changed to allow illegitimate children to inherit from their parents. You probably don’t remember that!

In my first church in Belfast, in the early 1990s illegitimate children were not welcome in church. We didn’t baptise children in our Nazarene church, but we did Thanksgiving services, and I did a lot. All the unmarried couples who couldn’t get their children baptized in any of the other churches came to me.

I have never turned a child away because of the sins of the parents. I had a situation in my first Methodist circuit when I told an unmarried mother that I wouldn’t baptise her child but I would do a Thanksgiving service. She said I was offering her second best and made an official complaint about me - a non Christian complaining about a Christian minister with standards! As if that would happen today!

At a baptism service the parents promise to bring the child up in a Christian home - it just didn’t seem right to make her lie in church. I have made many people lie in church since!

My point is that I would do a Thanksgiving service for any child whoever the parents are and whatever sinful lifestyle they may be living.

Just giving advance warning!

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