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Bishop baptises in Guildford Lido

Date: 18 July 2011

There was a modern twist to an ancient practice when the Bishop of Guildford the Rt Revd Christopher Hill stepped into Guildford Lido to baptise five adults on June 11.

Neighbouring church, St John’s Stoke, has used the Lido for adult Baptisms in the past - but for the first time this year surrounding parishes were invited to join them and around 350 people took part in the service.

Bishop Christopher said: “’Stoke’ means a place of sacred waters, so Stoke- next-Guildford was where, in all probability, the very first Baptisms took place in the Guildford area – although granted that would have been in the River Wey, not in an outdoor swimming pool!”

Following the Lido ceremony, the newly Baptised from Christ Church, Guildford, and St John’s joined 29 other candidates from five local churches for a service of confirmation inside St John’s. St John’s rector the Revd Mark Woodward said: “It was a wonderful celebration for people from across Guildford.

“The concept came about by chance some years ago when our Baptismal pool sprang a leak and we realised we had plenty of water next door. “We are fortunate to have a good relationship with the Lido who allow us to use the pool after it closes to the public.”

Bishop Christopher said: “It was Pentecost the following day and a wonderful opportunity to revisit a very ancient local practice but with modern people turning to Christ and expressing it publicly.”

Confirmation candidates came from Christ Church, St Peter’s, St Nicholas’ and St Saviour’s as well as from St John’s.

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Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:2

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