Launton's married vicars to conduct first baptism - for their own child

The Revs Shemil and Becky Mathew with their daughter Catherine at Launton Church. Picture: OX68795 Marc West

The Revs Shemil and Becky Mathew with their daughter Catherine at Launton Church. Picture: OX68795 Marc West Buy this photo

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Bicester and Banbury. Call me on (01865) 425426

A BAPTISM will be a real family affair on Sunday when two married vicars baptise the first baby in their new church – their own daughter.

The Reverends Shemil and Becky Mathew, from Launton, will baptise their daughter Catherine, who is almost one, in Launton Church on Sunday.

It will also be her father’s first baptism at the church, after arriving there about a month ago, with both parents looking forward to the event.

The Rev Shemil, 34, said: “I am really excited but also a little bit nervous.

“I hope I won’t drop the baby in the font, I am quite glad it will be my own baby. If she cries I will know what to do to make her stop.”

The Rev Becky, 34, said: “We are a very churchy family and I am feeling very excited and joyful and looking forward to welcoming Catherine into the church family.

“It will be lovely to have so many friends and family around on the day, and a few of the vicars we know have managed to get Sunday off so they are coming too. Catherine has been going to church since she was six days old so she is pretty clued up.

“It is exciting for Shemil because it will be his first baptism, and he will definitely remember it because it is his daughter.”

The couple met at a conference in 2007 and married almost exactly a year later.

Four years ago they had their first son Thomas, and Catherine was born on July 29, 2013, weighing 6lb 2.5oz.

On Sunday the Church of England service will be led by the Rev Becky, who works as a team vicar in the Bicester team ministry.

The Rev Shemil was ordained at the end of June and is now working as a curate in the Astwick Vale churches including Aynho, Croughton and Evenley.

The Rev Becky said: “It is a bit unusual, because most church couples are older and so don’t have young children.

“He will do the baptism and I will do the Holy Communion.

“And our son Thomas, who is three-and-a-half, will also help with some of the water.”

The day will be extra special to the couple, as the Rev Shemil’s parents, who live in Kerala, Southern India, will attend.

The Rev Becky said although Catherine is being baptised now, it will be up to her to decide if she wants to be confirmed when she is older.

She said: “We are hoping and praying that she will be part of the Faith and we will give her the time to make that decision when she grows up.

“This is this beginning of her journey. And it is going to be a really, really special day.”

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