Diocese of Portsmouth

    Church celebrates first baptisms by immersion

    7 Sept. 2023

    ONE of our newest churches celebrated its first ever baptisms by immersion over the summer.

    The baptism service held by Hope Church, Whiteley, took place in the playground of Cornerstone C of E Primary School, where the congregation now meets each Sunday.

    Among those being baptised in July was Talitha Adeniran, the six-year-old daughter of the vicar Amy. It was Talitha who decided she wanted to be ‘completely dunked’, which led to the church hunting for a padding pool. Others then came forward wanting to be baptised.

    In the end, the church’s first ever baptisms by immersion in July involved three children – Talitha Adeniran, now 6, Daniel and Isaac Chan, aged 8 and 6 – a teenager, James Flowers, and an adult, Gavin Young, being baptised. And Charlotte Baker reaffirmed her baptismal vows.

    Gavin (who is pictured being baptised above) said: “I found myself coming towards the Lord and wanted to show that I’ve repented and want to change my personality. I wanted to wash away my past and start again as a fresh new Christian. Previously I had no real purpose, but now my life is full of colour and joy and happiness, with great family and friends around me.”

    The baptism candidates make their promises in the playground of Cornerstone C of E Primary School
    Baptism by immersion means being fully immersed in the water, as a powerful symbol of new life

    Amy said: “All of these people are part of our family here at Hope Church Whiteley. Some have been with us for a few years, others about nine months. It was extraordinary holding it in the school playground, and an amazing way to continue to link the life of church and school together – especially as the three kids are pupils at Cornerstone, and some of their teachers had come to support them.

    “I think holding our services in the school hall can make church a little less scary. It was lovely to see the hall full, as many people came to support our baptism candidates, both their family and friends as well as the wider community.

    “Our congregation has been steadily growing over the past year and I think these full immersion baptisms will be looked back upon as a key moment in our journey.

    “Baptising my daughter was very special. It’s been wonderful to see how her faith has grown and been nurtured through our children’s work and encouraged by her whole church family. I managed to hold it together until the moment I went to baptise her, and I couldn’t quite say the words as a rush of emotion came to me.

    “I had a real moment with God giving thanks for her, and all that she is, and what her faith means to her. Not many mums get the chance to do that. What an amazing blessing.”

    Hope Church, Whiteley

    Hope Church Whiteley, Cornerstone C of E Primary School, PO15 7QE

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