Church group to hold baptisms at Portishead open air pool
A church in Portishead has secured an unusual venue to hold its baptism ceremonies – at the town’s open air pool.
The Vintage Community Church, which launched in the town in May 2010 and has a congregation of around 90, is now using the pool to baptise members of its congregation.
The church, which also has bases in Weston-super-Mare and Bristol, has already held one baptism earlier this summer and a further ceremony is planned for this weekend.
The Assemblies of God evangelical church, led by husband and wife team Sarah and Chris James, meet at Portishead Primary School each Sunday.
But as it had no facilities to hold baptisms – and faced hiring a baptismal tank – Chris and Sarah struck on the idea of using the outdoor pool.
Pastor Chris, 36, goes into the shallow end of the pool in shorts and T-shirt to carry out the ceremony.
The person being baptised is asked to give a short talk about their journey to baptism before they are submerged in the water.
A ceremony has already been held earlier this summer, with 12 people being baptised at the pool.
Church leader Sarah, 35, a mum of four, said: “Because we meet at the school we do not have a venue of our own.
“We could have hired in a special tank like other churches do.
“But we have a fantastic community facility in the open air pool and thought it would be an ideal location to hold our baptisms.
“We saw this as a way of investing in the pool and working with the community and building our relationship with the people who run and use the pool.
“It’s also a great place for people to sit on and around the terraces and watch the ceremonies.
“Our first baptism at the pool was a huge success and we had 200 people come to the event.
“We are now planning to use the pool a number of times throughout the coming season for baptism ceremonies.”
The pool, which is celebrating its 50th birthday this year, has seen around 30,000 people through the turnstiles since it opened in April for the 2012 summer season.