The first full immersion baptisms in living memory at a lake in Upper Wensleydale have taken place watched by a joyful crowd of Christians.
Bathers, sailors, paddle-boarders, bikers and picnickers at stunning Semerwater also watched the wonderful event in bright Bank Holiday sunshine - accompanied by Hawes Silver Band at full throttle.
Local paper Richmondshire Today covered the unique ceremony carried out by the Benefice of Upper Wensleydale’s vicar, Revd Dave Clark and it reported:
“It was a baptism like no other when Andrew Cumpstone and his daughters Chloe, 13, and Ruby, 11, took the plunge in Semerwater, near Bainbridge.
“Andrew said the total immersion was ‘massively symbolic of the old life going down into the water and then being born back into this new life as you come out. It is a beautiful world we live in and it was an amazing god that created that world. . . Baptism is an outward sign for me to say I absolutely believe that Jesus came to earth and died so that we could meet with god through him.’
”Chloe said she had been a Christian since she was “six or seven” and had always wanted to be baptised.
“Now she was older she had a fuller understanding of what that meant. Ruby, too, said had not fully understood Christianity when she was little, but now she wanted to show that she truly believed in God and Jesus.”
Revd Dave said it had been a privilege to be involved:
“I am so grateful to the Lord for bringing it all about.
“Since I first looked out over the wonderful lake, it has been a hope that I might have the opportunity to conduct a baptism there.
“As a church in the benefice, we pray that this might be just the start and that we may see many others decide to do the same.
“Huge thanks to Shane and Jackie who enable us to use their land and to Stanley Roocroft and the Hawes Silver Band for once again blessing us so richly with their music,” said Revd Dave.