By Olive Dempsey,
First Baptist Church, Dunnville
On Sunday Sept 27, 2020, seven people at First Baptist Church, Dunnville, went through the baptismal waters. As with most important matters of faith, the journey to get there was not easy.
Earlier in the year, a senior lady began attending worship at FBC Dunnville and very quickly indicated her desire to be baptized. Her announcement opened the door to others who had been thinking about it for some time and very soon there were three people taking the baptism course. A fourth person who had taken the course previously but had backed out of actually getting baptized came forward. After a serious health scare he determined now was the time. The date was set and then, out of the blue, two long time adherents stepped forward as well!
A Sunday in April was booked but COVID-19 struck in March and everything was stalled. Six people were primed and ready to be baptized, but the world said “no”. One had even gone out and bought a new bathing suit. “I won’t tell you how long it’s been since I had a bathing suit!” Everyone was disappointed, but resigned to waiting. God is still in control.
Fast forward six months and the health unit moved to a new phase that meant we could now have the baptism service. A new date was set. When giving the candidates various Sundays as an option, one of them spoke up and said, “Well I’m scheduled for surgery on Oct 3rd so we better make it before that. If I don’t make it off the table I won’t have any regrets. This day has been twenty-three years in the making; I don’t want to wait.”
Then just a week before the new date, one of our teens called and said they wanted to be baptized; was it too late? Of course we expedited everything to make that possible as well!
Finally the big day arrived and the church buzzed with excitement. The candidates were nervous. The church family was exultant. As each person entered the tank – for some it was a genuine physical struggle – you could see the focused determination on their face. They stood patiently while their pre-recorded testimonies played. There were some chuckles and some sniffles in the congregation as they listened to the stories.
At last they each were baptized and the looks of triumph as they came up out of the water had everyone clapping and cheering. It was a morning of victory. Even though the details in the traditions were different, the essential meaning of believer’s baptism remained pure and powerful.
It was a sign that our church was alive and well. We are continuing to grow in faith in spite of (even perhaps because of) our challenges. COVID-19 has caused all of us to look at life differently. It has pushed us outside of our comfort zones only to discover that God is already there.
Sunday, Sept 27 Baptism Service can be found here.