Fifteen people from three churches were baptized in Lake Buhlow, near Alexandria, Sunday evening, Sept. 4, in the second North Rapides Associational baptism rally this year.
PINEVILLE – Fifteen people from three churches were baptized in Lake
Buhlow, near Alexandria, Sunday evening, Sept. 4, in the second North
Rapides Baptist Associational baptism rally this year.
Ten were baptized last spring.
“Welcome to His baptistry,” said Steve Speer, founding pastor of His
Church, a contemporary congregation in Pineville not quite three months
old. Speer’s words took on a double meaning as about 350 people
contemplated the serene lake behind the pastor that was rimmed with
tall green pine trees and covered with a semi-sunny sky, which later
turned into a golden sunset. It was a perfect fall evening in central
Louisiana – no humidity, gentle breeze, just enough scattered cloud
cover to shade the sun. The event came to be as much a time of
worshipping God in the world He created, as it was a celebration of the
baptismal candidates’ decisions to follow Jesus as their Lord and
Savior, said Kevin Roberts, event organizer.
“I realized I wasn’t living right,” said Jason Pruitt, 28, an offshore
worker and member at Philadelphia Baptist Church in DeVille. “I needed
to do this to get things right with God.” He’d been baptized as a
child, but didn’t think he really meant it that first time, Pruitt
“Baptism is something you have to do in life if you’re going to follow
in Jesus’ steps, to be with Him in the end,” said Mike Branton, 40, and
a member at His Church. He’d never thought about Christianity or Jesus
or heaven/hell until he met Pastor Speer, he said. Why at age 40 was he
thinking about ‘the end?’
“You never know,” Branton said. “You gotta plan.”
Anne Mursen, 20, is a member at Kingsville Baptist in Pineville.
“I’m born again! My sins are forgiven!” Mursen said. Her sparkling blue
eyes glistened through matted wet strands of hair that when dry
probably was the color of wheat ready to be harvested.
“I thought it was the right thing to do,” Mursen said without
elaborating. Her face darkened, then brightened at the memory of water
warmer than the breeze that flowed atop it.
“I feel great!” Mursen exclaimed. “If you’ve never done it, do it!”
Herb Dickerson, area director of missions, explained to Bill Sumrall, a
reporter with the Alexandria Town Talk, that associational baptismal
rallies were the norm in the 1950s, when one man might pastor four or
five churches, which came together several times a year for baptisms
“This is beautiful,” Dickerson said of the setting, the turnout and the
occasion. “We wanted people to drive by and see it, just to give that