A Note from Chaplain Anne Grizzle:
May Baptisms at the Creek
Student Chris holds his hands high before his baptism
On May 12, after preparations, learning, and diligence in prayer, and despite a stormy weather forecast, seven young men from Boys Home followed through on their decision to follow Christ and were baptized at the creek.
Earlier that morning, the worship service at Emmanuel Episcopal in Covington featured a Boys Home choir for the first time. The homily referenced the ways that the baptismal candidates had indeed heard the Good Shepherd's voice through reading Scripture, learning from family, inner nudges, and spiritual practices. Many had already begun following Christ in specific ways such as Bible study, service, and even preaching. Leaving the church after the last song, "Shall We Gather at the River," everyone proceeded to the river at Boys Home. Amazingly, rather than thunderstorms, the Creator provided a beautiful day for the planned moment of baptism!
Down by the creek, Chaplain Anne Grizzle asked for each of the students to be presented for baptism by a sponsor who had supported them in their faith journey and someone who will continue to support and pray for them as they walk with God. Then the baptismal candidates gave resounding reunciations of Satan, evil powers, and sinful desires, followed by equally resounding affirmations of Jesus Christ as Savior, whole trust in His grace and love, and a promise to follow and obey Him as Lord. Sponsors and staff members then helped the chaplain to immerse each of the students in the cold, flowing creek water, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Afterwards each student was anointed with oil "sealed by the Holy Spirit in baptism and marked as Christ's own forever."
Congratulations to Davin, Chris, Finn, Christian, James, Abenego, and Frank, our newly baptized students! Frank, Ben, and James had requested they be baptized as brothers which was a woundrous moment; as an added blessing just before their dunking, the sun shone out from the clouds, as if to remind them that their recently deceased grandmother was joining all in prayer. Once each student was baptized, they were wrapped in newly gifted towels with their names, and Dr. James Snyder presented them with baptismal candles from Emmanuel Episcopal Church of Covington, VA. Afterwards, parents, sponsors, staff, and students all gathered in the dining hall for a celebratory lunch.
Each of the baptized young men spoke in chapel the next day of their reasons for being baptized. Some of their reasons were honoring the faith of their families, responding to the Holy Spirit, obeying Jesus' call to be baptized in Scripture, or deciding it was time to publicly confess faith. The newly baptized described the experience as cold, refreshing, memorable, a step towrads living a life dedicated to Jesus. Frank described the miracle of his grandmother's prayers that brought his brother back from the brink of death as a young boy and the miracle now of their lives together, baptized as brothers in blood and Christ. What a truly memorable and joyous day in the life of Boys Home and the faith that grows here!
Three brothers Ben, James, and Frank being baptized together
Group of students after their baptism pose with staff