My Baptism - Foreword

Although it was a slow process spanning the best part of a very difficult year, I became a Christian at the age of 61 in the Easter of 2002.

Christ has changed my life completely and made me a very different person to the one I once was, and although life still has all its problems, its ups and downs, most of the time I am able to deal with them more quickly and effectively. Gone are the days when I took pride in my successes and achievements, whatever I do now I do in God's strength, and I praise and thank Him for each day and the good things that happen.

Becoming a Christian is not a destination, its the beginning of a never ending journey, there are lean times when you faith weakens, and good times when you step forward to a higher state of enlightenment. There are also major 'landmarks' in your Christian walk. One such landmark for me was my baptism. Since becoming a Christian in 2002, a number of friends had encouraged me to get baptised, but in order to tell you how this eventually came about, I must first introduce you to Martha.

I came to York in December 2003 and joined Clifton Parish Church in January 2004, I was made very welcome and soon made some good friends through the church. One person in particular who made me very welcome and became a good friend was Martha. After some time I learnt that Martha was worried about he late husband's grave at York Cemetery. The problem was keeping it tidy and free from weeds, so we worked together to make it into a low maintenance alpine gravel garden. I had to tell this part of the story, because its how I came to know Elisabeth (Libby) and Richard.

Richard is Libby's husband and Libby is one of Martha's three daughters, they live in the South of England. When Libby heard about the work on her dad's grave she sent me a thank-you card and introduced herself. The following year Libby and Richard were planning to visit York and stay with Martha for a few days. As a teenager Libby had spent considerable time at the Hollybush Christian Fellowship Centre, and so had many happy memories of it. She phoned her mum and said "We would like to visit Hollybush on the Friday of our visit, please phone them and see if anything is happening on that day, and also invite Rod to come with us if you wish, it will be a chance to meet him." So Martha made the phone call, and then phoned me in great excitement to tell me all about it. "Friday is Hollybush's last day of their annual family summer camp and they are doing full immersion baptisms in the river that flows along the edge of their land - Now's your chance Rod, go for it!" she said.

The next day I spoke to David Casswell about it: "Great!" he said "and I'll come with you and do it." David is the Clifton Parish vicar, and had by now become a good friend. So that seemed to settle it, leaving about a couple of weeks before the baptism was to take place. Then I started to get worried. Something inside kept telling me "you're not worthy." Despite all my efforts, I became increasingly uncomfortable and was tempted to call the whole thing off. Then on the last day I suddenly thought: "If you have a problem with your television or your lawnmower, what do you do? You read the manual!" And so it was that I opened my concordance and my bible to find no less that fifteen references to baptism, all of which are in the New Testament. My worries were over, what I needed to do was get baptised! All fifteen readings can be found on page 3.

And so it came to pass that we all set off for my baptism at Hollybush on Friday the 5th August 2005.

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Clifton Parish Church

Hollybush Christian Fellowship

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Martha at her late husband's grave, after we did the makeover.

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Hollybush is situated on the A167 between Thirsk and Northallerton in North Yorkshire. An arrow on the map, marks the spot.