Bill Baggs State Park will be the site of a historic celebration on May 5 as churches of different cultural backgrounds come together for the One Family Baptism Event. The event will include a picnic, games, baptisms, a spoken message and even opportunities to minister to others.

“The One Family Baptism on May 5 clearly communicates the unified message across Florida: We are together in Jesus Christ,” said Tommy Green, executive director-treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention.

He continued, “This historic celebration of new life in Christ symbolized through believers baptism beautifully demonstrates Ephesians 4:4-7. The emphasis of one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father, each one, and one Christ.”

New Life Ministries was one of many churches that participated in Acts 2:41 Baptism Sunday last year.

The One Family event was born from meetings between 15 pastors of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds who embarked on a journey to better understand each other’s lives and struggles.

“In a country that can be very divided at given moments, the church can be different,” said Emanuel Roque, Hispanic church catalyst of the FBC.

Patrick Coats, multicultural church catalyst, said that when he started his role with the Florida Baptist Convention his dream was to see pastors “break down the silos–everyone hanging out in their place of affinity.” When the group of multicultural pastors formed, said Coats, God began to move.

“Many times we had family events like dinners, we prayed and worshipped together but then we asked ‘how do we take this to the next level and show the rest of the state this unity and this coming together?’”

That’s when pastor Noel Lozano of Turning Point Church suggested the joint baptisms.

“The main idea behind this event is unity,” said Lozano. “The church can be the one institution that can bring everybody together.”

Alberto Ocaña, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Northside, will be participating at the event which he thinks is important for two reasons: “The message of unity; we are one family in Christ,” he said and that “we will be giving testimony in a public place of our faith through baptisms.”

He hopes to have 10 people from his church be baptized on that Saturday.

Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville celebrated beach baptism on Acts 2:41 Baptism Sunday last year.

The One Family event is the first of it’s kind but certainly not the last.

On September 28th the group is planning to have a joint worship service celebrating Christ in multiple languages.

Following the One Family event, the entire state will participate in Acts 2:41 Baptism Sunday.

Acts 2:41 Baptism Sunday on May 6, allows us to surround the Sunshine State with the witness of Jesus Christ,” said Green.

“I urge all of our churches to get out of the building and celebrate baptisms with churches from coast to coast throughout Florida.”

By Keila Diaz, Florida Baptist Convention, April 18, 2018