Three young people were baptised in Palmerston North recently, and they shared their testimonies of finding their place in the family of God in new ways.
Bishop Eleanor was there, and helped to foster the sense of family gathering by presiding over the Eucharist that featured breads from every ethnic group repersented in the parish whānau. She preached about the Samaritan woman in John 4, who was collecting water at the wrong time of day – suggesting that she was a social outcast in her community. Bishop Ellie told us that that’s who Jesus chose to meet. The woman was then a powerful witness back to her own people and family. +Ellie told the gathering of her own struggles and tensions of living in relationship to family, with her own story of hope and healing. She expressed that we all have the choice to love when it feels too hard.
The three who were baptised all spoke of how they had found a new sense of belonging in their walks with Jesus. Elliot was one of the baptised believers, and he spoke to Rev Andy Hickman about the sense of loving community he’s found. He said: “to walk into a church service and soon realise that I was not expected to perform or act a certain way, but rather be settled and just join in the flow of words, silence, greetings of peace, songs and hearing about the faith that we can have in Jesus; it’s what I have always wanted but never knew that I wanted it.”
Elliot’s discovery of the Anglican faith tradition was somewhat surprising to him. “I think that my generation are hoping that there’s a local, accessible, community of people who value a spirituality of substance, that is connected to a whakapapa of faith, that we can identity with as our whānau, especially when it has connectedness to those who have lived before our time.”
Sapphire was also baptised, and told congregants that she has gone from a shy girl to someone who’s brave enough to honour Christ by her baptism in front of the whole church. Caitlin was the third, and she has found a new boldness to speak up on behalf of Him. She told Andy: “I just felt that God wanted me to get baptised. It’s like now or never. I need to get over my anxieties and just show everyone what I am about now, today and for the rest of my life.”
The event was a combined service for all the congregations in the All Saints parish whānau, and was held at Christian Community Church in Palmerston North on the 28th of July 2019.