More than 100 people attend community baptism
A community baptism held June 5 in Bull Shoals Lake at Pontiac Cove Marina was a big success, said Annia Contreras who helped organize the event along with Gainesville resident Audrey Breedlove.
“It was an awesome day,” Contreras said. “Boy, did the Holy Spirit show up - and so did our community!”
There were about 100 people who attended the community baptism, which featured 26 baptisms performed by six different area pastors. Contreras said that 22 of the baptisms were done in a public portion of the event, one was completed in private just after the event and three jail baptisms were done by Pastor Jeff Dotson that same day.
“It was just a beautiful, Holy-Spirited day all the way around,” she said. “A big thank you to Audrey Breedlove for doing this with me. It was quite the journey, and God taught me a lot along the way. Thanks Charlotte Holmes for your prayer over me and helping me to connect with the Holy Spirit. Most of all, I’m so blessed God chose me and Holy Spirit not only laid it on my heart but carried me through each and every step.”
The two organizers also gave a big thank you to all who participated in making the event possible including many local churches, family, friends and volunteers who grilled a hotdog lunch to feed the big crowd.
Contreras said that she and Breedlove have heard a lot of positive feedback, and many people have urged them to hold the community baptism as an annual event. She said it’s a real possibility that may be the case in the future.
“…and if the out-pour calls for it sooner, then of course, we will do it sooner,” she said.
How the community baptism came to be
Breedlove told the Times that God had been speaking with her about baptism for about a year, but it wasn’t until she connected with Contreras during a tent revival at Hardenville that the idea for the community baptism came alive.
She said they chose the day of Pentecost because of its significance in the book of Acts as the birthday of the church. It was on the Jewish holiday of Pentecost in the book of Acts when about 120 Christian believers were praying in an upper room and the spirit of the Lord fell on them all. In chapter two, the apostle Peter stood up and preached what many believed was the first church sermon on how to be saved. He told the people to “repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
“I felt that we should have it on Pentecost Sunday for two reasons,” Breedlove said before the event. “The first being the obvious one, in Acts 2, that’s when they were baptized with The Holy Spirit and the Church began.”
Breedlove said the second reason is because June is considered pride month in the United States. “For us, it has nothing at all to do with sexual orientation or preference. We believe anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. And Jesus loves us all the same,” Breedlove said. “Not one is worthy, not one. But pride is what we fight against on a daily basis.”
Contreras said that while attending the tent revival, “God laid his hands upon my back, literally. It was the greatest spirit-filled moment I have ever had,” she said. “If I had ever had a doubt before, he removed it all at that precise moment. So later He put into my mind and heart a baptism, and I felt I had to obey and listen. This wasn’t an in-church baptism but one created for all.”
The two shared their idea with the Ozark County Ministerial Alliance, which has jumped on the bandwagon with many pastors planning to participate.