Mike Brooks stepped into the tank on Easter Sunday and, one by one, his daughters followed. First Cora, 11. Then Kitty, 10. Then Bee, 7.
He placed his hand behind their heads and dipped them underwater as they held their noses. And as each daughter rose from the water, eyes closed and hair wet, the congregation cheered.
“This is the greatest love story of all time,” said Tyler Jones, pastor at the Vintage Church. “This love story is incomparable. This is the greatest rescue mission of all time.”
The downtown church held 10 baptisms in a single service Sunday, immersing elementary school children up to college sophomores. They toweled off and retook their seats, singing with fresh voices on the church’s holiest day.
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“Our oldest of the three had been asking to do it for a while,” said Brooks, 46, of Cary. “It’s just a beautiful experience.”
All over the Triangle, Sunday morning saw Christian worshipers celebrate the foundation of their faith, observing Jesus’ resurrection as victory over death and the rebirth of human spirit. The oft-quoted words from I Corinthians – “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” – flowed from the Vintage Church’s heavy oak pews.
“We know that we’re perishable,” Jones said. “Every single one of us knows that, and yet we long to be imperishable.”
It’s just a beautiful experience.
Mike Brooks of Cary
For the 10 baptized on Sunday, choosing Easter gave special weight to a highly personal religious decision, linking their own commitment to new life to the rebirth told in the New Testament. Many had spent months on the path, settling questions about their own faith.
“It was important to have this done,” said Chris Gottberg, 20, a sophomore at N.C. State University. “I can look back at this day of celebration and use it to share my story.”
Easter often is a day for wide-brimmed hats or pink church dresses, but the congregation at Vintage tends to dress informally. Even Jones, the pastor, wore jeans. But 10 for a baptism is still common, even a bit lower than on other Sundays.
Once it was finished, the worshipers dried off and rejoined the congregation as it sang. Gottberg leaned against the wall to sing, his eyes closed, his hand raised, his hair still wet and his heart soaring.