Members of St. Peter, Erindale, set up a booth at the spring BabyTime Show in Mississauga on April 28-30, leading to many surprising conversations. “This was our second experience at a BabyTime Show, and quite a good one,” said the Rev. Canon Jennifer Reid, incumbent. “It is a strange and yet holy experience.”
The church invited Rabbi Audrey Pollack from nearby Solel Synagogue and Arliene Botnick, its director of education, to join the booth and present a seminar on raising a spiritual child. Nine hundred people accepted a bedtime prayer for children, many of whom engaged in conversations about churchgoing, prayer, faith and forgiveness.
One woman commented on how intimidating it can be to start going to church and asked, “Can I just walk in?” A grandmother asked for advice about her daughter, who doesn’t want to have her child baptized. A new mother asked about raising a child in both Christian and Jewish families. A single mother, describing herself as wounded and angry, said she is searching for a church to give her child something to hold onto. A mother asked when she should start teaching her two-year-old son to pray. One woman looked at the prayer card, smiled, and said, “I still have the one you gave me a year and a half ago on my fridge. My child is almost two now, and we look at it every day.”
The church’s volunteers encouraged people from across the GTA to check out their local Anglican churches and to take the time to teach their children about God. “I never thought I would say this, but I have seen enough babies for a week,” said Canon Reid. “It was a long but wonderful weekend, and we look forward to doing it again next year.”