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Blackshear Place church baptizes dozens in Lake Lanier
Laura Hilley, left, 15, gives a hug to friend Melinda Smith, 12, after getting baptized Sunday during Blackshear Place Baptist Church’s Family Fun Day at Lake Lanier Islands. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Youngster Scott Odum was one of about 55 people who were baptized Sunday at Lake Lanier Islands Beach & Water Park. The baptism was part of Blackshear Place Baptist Church’s fourth annual Family Fun Day at Lake Lanier.

"It felt really good," Odum said. "I really like going out to the beach."

"The reason we do this is mainly for fellowship for our church family," said Jason Nave, the minister of Pastoral Care and Missions. "It’s always neat to come outside and baptize in a natural environment."

Blackshear Place has been working for three months on preparing for Sunday’s event.

"We rent the whole water park out," Nave said. "The people pay one set price, and they get in, and they’re able to eat — it is good fellowship with their family. We don’t do any activities on Sunday night, we move everything out here."

"It has really become an annual special celebration for us," said Jeff Crook, senior pastor at Blackshear Place Baptist Church. "A lot of folks like to wait and do it out here."

Nave said: "It is one of the highlights of our church calendar because we get to bring everyone together and have a good time and see a lot of people’s lives that have been changed in the last couple of months and follow the Lord in baptism."

Blackshear Place has four Sunday services, so it is difficult to have everyone who belongs to the church come together. That’s one of the reasons why the Family Fun Day at Lake Lanier Islands is so special.

"It’s so awesome because you get to see the whole church family here," Crook said. "This is our big event that we all gather together and celebrate a lot of new believers."

Nave said that once someone gives their life to Christ, in order for them to experience the abundant life that Jesus has to offer, they need to follow him in baptism.

"I felt a calling to do it," said Richard Smith of Hoschton. "This is actually a re-baptize. I’m rededicating my life to the Lord here at my new home at Blackshear Place Baptist Church."

Richard and his wife, Mary, have been visiting Blackshear Place for quite some time; however, they have been official members for three weeks.

Smith was glad to have his baptism at Lake Lanier Islands.

"It felt fantastic," Smith said. "I was not nervous at all. I was very excited."

Mary Smith was excited to e-mail pictures to her son in Douglasville.

She said she was "thrilled" to see her husband get baptized and that it was "an answer to prayer."