Welcoming people to the Church.
All people are welcome at Bradford Cathedral, people of all faiths and none.
However the building’s primary role is as a Christain place of worship, so it is particularly special to those who follow Jesus. We call these people ‘the Church’.
You are stood by the west, north and south doors of the Cathedral and near the place where Christians are welcomed into the family of the Church.
The octagonal basin on a pedestal is made out of stone. It is called a font. It is about 100 years old. There are a number of Christian symbols carved on the font.
IHS is known as a ‘Christogram’. It represents the first three letters of Jesus in Greek, IHΣΟΥΣ.
The pelican in medieval times was thought to be particularly attentive to her young, to the point of providing her own blood by wounding her own breast when no other food was available. As a result it became a symbol of Jesus.
The lamb is another symbol of Jesus.
In the Bible are four books called Gospels. These tell us about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. They were written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Matthew’s symbol is the winged man, Mark’s symbol is the winged lion, Luke’s symbol is the winged ox and John’s is the eagle.
The ornate, wooden, font cover dates back to Tudor times and was installed in 1536. It is designed to draw the eye to one of the most important places in the Cathedral.
In the church of England it is common to baptise babies (who then are usually confirmed when they are 11 or older) however anyone may be baptised at any age.
When a baby is baptised he or she is taken to the font and water poured over the head three times by a priest, who baptises the baby in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (the Trinity).
As the baby is unable to make its own vows to become a member of the Church, his or her parents will do so. In addition at least three adults, will also promise to help the child to grow up as a Christian. These are called ‘Godparents’, (these may be relatives or family friends). It is usual for two Godparents to be the same sex as the baby and one the opposite sex.