Family, friends gather for old-fashioned baptism in Pushaw Lake

Posted June 25, 2012, at 4:29 p.m.
Last modified June 26, 2012, at 8:56 a.m.

ORONO, Maine — Laughter rang out in the group as Bangor Baptist Church Senior Pastor Jerry Mick remarked on Sunday’s low water temperature as he stepped into Pushaw Lake. People in street clothes and a small group in white robes waited as Pastor Mick explained what was going to happen.

The morning rain gave way to sunshine as more than 100 people gathered for the ceremony to witness a family member or friend be baptized in the water of Pushaw Lake in Orono.

The Bangor Baptist Church holds an old-fashioned baptism once a year when people choose to be submerged in lake water instead of the church’s baptismal pool.

Mick said the church baptisms are common but immersion is the way it used to be done.

Light-hearted conversation gave way to silence and prayer before the ceremony began.

Mick said people who are baptized will not automatically go to heaven but it is one step of the right way. He also described how baptism symbolizes the death of the old life and rebirth in the Christian faith.

Names were called one-by-one and the worshippers stepped into the lake with the pastor.

“It is refreshing,” said Paul Stuckey after he and his wife, Laura Stuckey of Milo, came out of the water. “We were both baptized at birth, but we wanted to emphasize our Baptist faith,” Laura said.

Tim Caisse of Corinth was one of 17 baptized. He said he is getting married and he feels it is the right way for him to start a family.