For the fourth year One Voice organised a great open-air baptism service for Easter.
On Saturday 3rd April on the steps of York Minster representatives of a number of churches brought candidates to be baptised in a specially constructed pool.
The sunshine was glorious and the crowd enormous – the numbers were difficult to gauge, estimates have varied from “many hundreds” to “over a thousand”.
The service started with Libby Redman drawing the crowd by performing some of her songs, then at 2.30pm congregational singing commenced.
The service was lead by the joint chairs of One Voice, David Casswell and Graham Hutchinson.
Archbishop Sentamu preached up a storm, inviting people to connect with Jesus, stating the gospel in a clear and simple way.
Graham Hutchinson interviewed each candidate to ask them why they wanted to be baptised and then David Caswell prayed over each one making the sign of the cross.
Archbishop Sentamu asked the candidates: Do you turn to Christ? Do you repent of your sins? Do you renounce evil?
The candidates together responded: I turn to Christ. I repent of my sins. I renounce evil.
Stephen Redman then prayed over the water and asked the candidates together to affirm that God was their Father that Jesus was their Lord and that they were born of the Spirit. He stated that on the basis of their public confession they were to be baptised.
One by one local ministers entered the water to baptise their candidates with Archbishop Sentamu. There were some glowing faces as they emerged from the waters of baptism!
After emerging from the water hands were laid on each candidate to receive the Holy Spirit by local ministers.
Finally the crowd were given the opportunity to publicly re-affirm their baptismal vow. Those who wanted to lift up a hand were splashed with water out of the tank as a symbol of their re-affirmation by local ministers.
A sea of hands appeared and a lot of water was splashed!
After the baptisms, men from Teen Challenge told their dynamic stories of life change and sang of the power of Jesus.
For the first time Street Angels provided the stewarding.