Four members of the X-treme fresh expression of church in Seascale recently braved the Irish Sea for baptism.
More than 50 people gathered at Cumbria's Seascale Beach on Easter Sunday to see the foursome face full immersion as part of a service led by Philip Peacock, Superintendent of Whitehaven Methodist Circuit. After singing 'Here for You' and making a public declaration of faith, those being baptised ran into the sea and battled against the waves to go under the water one by one.
The crowd then sang 'To God be the Glory' and prayers were said with the laying on of hands for a fresh outpouring of God's Holy Spirit. The newly-drenched quartet rushed home to shower and change as everyone else made their way to the Methodist Church Hall for hot drinks and cake.
Lyn Edwards, leader of the Shackles Off youth project and X-treme, said,
I think we may be the first church in Seascale to have had baptisms in the sea. It brought the village out to see what was happening. Of the 50 people who gathered to watch from the beach, only about 20 of them were church people.
Those being baptised were two 18-year-olds who gave their lives to the Lord at Soul Survivor last year and the other two adults are also closely involved in what we do with X-treme. I was thrilled to be part of it and amazed to see what God had done. At one point it all seemed very different because, after three years of doing the project, no-one had been saved. I told God that I longed to see just one person come to faith and then we went to Soul Survivor and nine people made commitments!
It was so wonderful to be in the water with these people who had never previously thought about baptism. We deal with a lot of tragedy here and there are horrendous things going on so to have these blessings was very special; like diamonds in the dust.