April 2, 2021

BAPTISM AT THE LAKE

In our little Athens church, baptisms were done whenever anyone responded to the “invitation hymn” after the sermon.  Often the song was, “Just As I Am.”  My father was late in making that decision—just four years before he died.  When he decided to be baptized, I was 10 and he suggested I go forward with him.  I panicked—and decided to wait until I was 11.  There was a baptistry in the church sanctuary—always kept at the ready.  And at 11, I made my move and was baptized—not being dropped or drowned in the process, as I had feared!

After my divorce, we went to the Presbyterian church, eventually winding up in the late 1970s at one in Irmo that had been started up by Pastor Bill Solomon. Bill was a “down home” and genuine person who’d grown up in Montreat, North Carolina.  His mother was the local postmaster (she hated anyone referring to her as postmistress!) and Bill and his siblings played with Billy Graham’s children.  He and his wife June truly loved their Cornerstone flock!

During our years there, we became familiar with the concept of infant baptism and it seemed good to welcome each little one as a “child of the covenant.”  When Heather and Patrick were at the age for the annual Confirmation Class, there was a question of their baptism.  Since we’d come to the Presbyterian church rather late, they’d not been baptized as infants—or later. In a few informal conversations about the topic, I asked Bill if it might be possible for them to be immersed, in line with my family tradition.  I knew it would especially be meaningful for my mother if they were.  Even though it wasn’t exactly in line with the Presbyterian “book of church order,” Bill said it was fine with him.  He talked it over with Heather and Patrick, and suggested we meet him one Sunday afternoon at the Lake Murray boat dock of church friends, the Rhodes family.  

Mother was very happy about the plan, and my friends Faith and Anne (with her sons) joined us for the baptism.  The first photo shows Bill walking to the end of the dock where Heather and Patrick wait.  The second one shows Mother and me chatting with Bill afterwards.

Our friends joined us back at our home for a celebration meal afterward! 

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