Archbishop of York to Carry Out Easter Baptisms
8:00am 30th March 2013
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, will be baptising Christians from different denominations on the Saturday before Easter, 30th March. Elevenpeople from local churches will be baptised outside St Michael le Belfrey Church by being totally immersed in a large tank of water, from 2.00pm.
Archbishop Sentamu said, “This is the seventh year running for the outdoor baptisms. Hundreds of people come along to support friends and family – it’s a great atmosphere, come rain, snow or shine! What I love is that these individuals step forward and choose to make a public commitment to follow Jesus. From now on they will, by the help of the Holy Spirit and members of the Church, commit to doing things differently. Easter is fantastic news for us all as it reminds us that it’s never too late to make a fresh start. Come along and join us – but if you want to be baptised, bring some clothes to change into afterwards because the water in the pool is freezing!”
Among the people being baptised is Matthew Fletcher, aged 22, who goes to St Edwards Church in Dringhouses. He said, “I grew up in a household where my Father was Catholic and my Mother was Church of England, and they wanted to let me decide where my beliefs were when I was old enough. Now I feel I am old enough to understand, I've had enough life experience and I feel I can stick to the promises made at baptism, so now’s the right time to be baptised. I attended Manor CE School when I was younger, where I made many close friends with the same ideas and beliefs as me, who have helped me make my decisions along the way leading up to being baptized. I want to be baptized so I can commit myself to Jesus and the sacrifice he made for us and I have come to the point in my life where I now fully understand my beliefs.”
The service of baptism has been organised by One Voice York, a network of Christian churches and leaders of different denominations working together across the city.
The Archbishop of York and the candidates’ own church leader will be in the water to baptise all candidates. Joint Chair of One Voice York, Graham Hutchinson, will ask each person and all those watching to affirm their faith before the baptisms. When the candidates come out of the water they will be prayed for by all the church leaders.
Graham Hutchinson said, “Baptism is a symbol of death and new life, and it’s especially important at Easter, when we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As these people are immersed in the water they symbolically die to their old life, and as they rise out of the water they symbolically come alive in the life of Jesus Christ.”
“The people being baptised come from different church traditions, each with a different way of doing things. But by coming together to celebrate these baptisms, we are saying that in our essentials we believe the same thing, and are all part of a wider church family in Jesus Christ.”
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