LAKE STEVENS — Shelly Ellis stood in front of a camera at Lundeen Park and spoke about why she was being baptized.
The woman joined 103 others who were baptized Wednesday evening in Lake Stevens. The Baptism at the Lake was held by Bethany Christian Assembly, a church located in Everett.
“I’m getting baptized today because I feel it’s the next step in my faith,” said Ellis, 38, “I’m taking a step toward announcing it and making it a declaration. This is going to be life-changing for our family.”
Before entering the lake, people shared their personal reasons for being baptized including, “To follow God’s path for me.” To “dedicate my life to the Lord,” and to “be a better person and to help my relationship with God.” Footage of the testimony, as well as the baptisms, will be shown to members of the congregation during services, said Jordan Brokaw, church media director.
“We’re going to put it together into videos and play it for the rest of the congregation so the rest of the congregation can celebrate,” he said.
The church offers monthly baptisms. The latest in Lake Stevens was the largest in the church’s 101-year history, pastor Jeff Duchemin said. He was one of six Bethany Christian Assembly pastors who baptized people in the lake.
“Baptism can’t get you to heaven, but our faith in Jesus Christ gets us to heaven,” Duchemin told the crowd. “We get baptized because we’re a Christian, not to become a Christian.”
The baptism involved being fully immersed in the water. It is an “outward demonstration of what God has meant inwardly in lives,” Duchemin said.
For Justine Nevins and her sons, Quintel, 16, and Quincy, 7, the event was a chance to rededicate their lives to God.
“We’ve been moving a lot from Hawaii to California to here and my husband’s in the military,” said Nevins, 36. “We just want to focus on the Lord and rededicate our lives.”
A large crowd of family and friends of those who were baptized watched from a dock and the shoreline. Armin Adams of Marysville clapped after his 14-year-old son, David Adams, completed the ceremony.
“He’s the last of five to be baptized,” said Adams, 59. “We’re blessed.”
It was a step forward in his faith, David said.
“It’s a public declaration of an inward decision,” he said.
Pastor John Shorb’s started ministering at Bethany Christian Assembly less than two months ago. Ellis, who is one of his longtime friends, was the first person he baptized.
“What else is more important than moments like this?” Shorb said. “This to me is maybe one of the highlights of my life, not only of my ministry, but my life.”
Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491; firstname.lastname@example.org.