The recent census results confirm that Wales as a whole is at its most secular within recorded history, with fewer than 44% of people wanting to tick the ‘Christian’ box. But against this backdrop, people of all ages across the country have chosen this year to make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, and to get baptised.
At least 42 believers’ baptisms took place over the past year in BUW churches, from small rural chapels like Ebenezer, Cold Inn (Pembrokeshire) or Beulah, Llidiart-y-waen (Powys) to larger congregations baptizing in some cases several believers over the course of the year.
Baptism is one of the key elements of our Declaration of Principle, as Rev Dr Densil Morgan, BUW President outlined in his address in the summer; alongside the lordship of Christ and the centrality of mission, ‘Baptism binds us together’. Although all Christian denominations hold in principle to the idea of baptising a new believer upon their profession of faith, Baptists believe:
“That Christian Baptism is the immersion in water into the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, of those who have professed repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ who ‘died for our sins according to the Scripture; was buried, and rose again the third day’.”
And as testified at these 42 occasions across the country over the year, this is a momentous, life-changing event. At Ebeneser, Dyfed – a rural chapel in north Pembrokeshire – three believers were baptised, ranging in age from their teens to mid-life. As Fflur said, ‘the experience of being baptised was utterly unique. Words can’t describe it! It was such a joy to be able to share the day with all the members of the chapel and with friends and family.’ Then in September, an outdoor baptism of two young men took place at Bethel, Silian – a small fellowship of 24 members in Ceredigion. This had been postponed as a result of the pandemic and so there was much joy as Mark and Aron were symbolically plunged into the depths only to be raised to new life with Christ.
These stories are only two among many; but what they all have in common is the fact that the Holy Spirit remains very much at work in our country, calling people to follow Jesus.