More than 300 believers of multiple cultures and backgrounds gathered at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park to celebrate the baptism of 79 new believers.
The One Family beach baptism celebration brought together 15 churches from South Florida for baptisms and fellowship on a day that started off with a brief rain shower but was quickly followed by radiating sunshine.
The shore filled with family and friends holding up phones and cameras trying to capture the moment their loved ones were baptized while others clapped and sang worship songs.
Emanuel Roque, Hispanic church catalyst of the Florida Baptist Convention, counted down the pastors as they simultaneously submerged those there to be baptized in the warm beach waters that day.
“This day is a fantastic picture of genuine love for one another,” said Sherard Burns, pastor of Renewing Life Church.
“Today I am filled with a lot of hope,” said Noel Lozano, pastor of Turning Point Baptist Church and one of the pastors who planned the event. “I hope that today is a little catalyst that will set more like this off in the rest of the state.”
Big, medium and small congregations fellowshipped over burgers, hotdogs, games of dominos and beach volleyball while Spanish, English and Creole were spoken interchangeably.
Ana Antunes, of Iglesia Bautista Northside, was one of the many baptized and for her it was a moment filled with a lot of emotion.
“It was very different from other baptisms I’ve seen and I was very excited. I don’t really have words to describe it,” she said as her daughter wrapped her in a hug.
Keane Carter of Renewing Life was also baptized.
“I feel totally renewed and refreshed,” he said and added that it was a very special time for him as he was also in the middle of a fast where God revealed himself in a mighty way.
Itzel Arellano, from Turning Point, came to the beach to support her church family.
“I think this is such a great event. We get to fellowship and celebrate our faith in Christ as one family. I wish we did more things like this.”
“It’s not just about today,” said Roque, “But about continuing this from today on.”
By Keila Diaz, Florida Baptist Convention, May 7, 2018