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Taking baptism to the streets

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Radcliff church holds ceremonies outside

By Sarah Bennett

Tears were in Sara Nichols’ eyes as she watched the Rev. Gary Summers empty a handful of water onto the top of her 13-month-old son’s blond head Sunday afternoon.

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Issac Nichols’ baptism was one of six performed in a 150-gallon livestock watering tank positioned at the foot of Summers’ driveway on Rodney Street in Radcliff.

Summers, pastor of Crossroads Christian Center, told the 15-member congregation gathered for the “street ministry” they would perform the baptisms outside where “everybody can see, where everybody can join in.”

“We’re sharing with the world on the outside what already happened on the inside,” Summers said.

Before performing the baptisms, the pastor led the church in a series of hymns and delivered a short sermon. The only accompanying instrument was a tambourine as the congregation raised their hands to the sky and sang.

Congregation member Keith Farris was the first to step into the watering tank.

Farris was baptized as a child, he said, but turned his back on God. He recently felt God’s touch again, he said.

“When you turn your back on God, God gives you the chance to turn back to him,” Farris said before sitting down in the tank.

As Summers knelt on a blue pillow beside the metal tank, he dunked Farris backward, submerging the man’s head in the water.

“I present to you Keith Farris — a new man,” Summers said.

Sarah Nichols came to Sunday’s service intending to be baptized, but she said the decision to have her son baptized as well was an impromptu one.

According to Nichols, the thought came to her during Sunday’s worship.

“It’s just something God put on my heart,” the mother said.

Sarah Bennett can be reached at 270-505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.