Fonts and water features

I am aware that fonts in churches are receiving more attention, and this is to be welcomed. Baptism is an important rite and sacrament and a clean, well attended font helps emphasise this importance. Many people revisit the church where they were baptised and appreciate the font being in good order.

However, I find rather curious the appearance of what could light heartedly be called ‘water features’ in fonts. These are devices with a small motor introduced to create a spray of water or a small fountain, rather like one finds in some garden centres.

Such a feature has now been introduced to the font in Ely Cathedral. It is a small device which makes water flow, and, frankly, does not add to the dignity of the font. It is ugly and incongruent. It would be interesting to know the rationale behind its introduction. Surely flowers and lit candles close to the fiont, and the font simply standing with fresh water in it would be more appropriate and fitting. I was pleased to discover I am not alone in my dislike of Ely Cathedral’s water feature in the font – a senior member of the clergy described it in my hearing as “totally naff.”

Audrey

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