Urban Expression baptism in the Lake District
What do a tiny urban church and Urban Expression (UE) Team from Openshaw, Manchester have in common with a tiny rural church in Hawkshead Hill in Cumbria?
You may imagine not a lot but the two churches from North Western Baptist Association have been twinned for the last ten years.
So when Imogen McBeath asked to be baptised last year, knowing there was no church building and no baptistry, she came up with the ideal solution – why not go and have a shared baptismal service with Hawskead Hill Baptist Church?
Sunday morning (19 July) saw a tiny exodus from the city up to the Lake District to celebrate Imogen’s baptism in the outside baptistry in the retreat style gardens of the chapel at Hawshead Hill.
Imogen, aged 13, has grown up as part of both Openshaw Baptist Tabernacle and as part of UE Openshaw. Over the last few months she has explored the meaning of baptism through reading the Bible and Ignatian spirituality with Angie Tunstall, Baptist Minister and Regional Coordinator for UE who compiled a new baptism course especially designed around the UE values of humility, creativity and relationship.
Imogen, who has participated in both the NWBA “Impact” and UE Youth weekends this year, helped plan the service and to write her baptismal promises. It was important to her that these were written in her own words without using traditional church jargon. In a very moving service, led by Kath and Andrew Dodd, ministers at Hawkshead Hill, she gave testimony to her faith saying:
“I wish to get baptised as I feel God has entered my life. Over the past couple of years I have felt more connected with God and I have felt God has been there with me. I have felt God’s presence on many occasions and I feel me getting baptised is my way of joining God’s family. Following Jesus is important to me and I always know there is someone there looking after me in times of need and in every day life”.
Imogen was baptised by Angie Tunstall and Tim Presswood (Regional Minister for NWBA) surrounded by family, friends and visitors to Hawkshead Hill on Sunday 19 July 2015.