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United Methodist Broadcast Inspires Baptisms

Anything can happen on live TV. St. Paul United Methodist Church in Abilene, Texas broadcasts 11:00 worship live every Sunday. Congregants say they witnessed the Holy Spirit at work one morning when their pastor invited TV viewers to become new in Christ through the living waters of baptism.

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(Locator: Abilene, Texas)

Elizabeth Page: "I had on the shorts I slept in the night before, and a stretched out t-shirt and flip flops and no make-up, and here I came!"

Elizabeth Page was home watching a church service on TV when she heard the pastor make an offer her heart couldn't refuse.

The Rev. Felicia Hopkins: "If you feel so led today to be baptized, it would be my honor."

Elizabeth Page, St. Paul United Methodist Church: "At the moment she said that, and it all happened real, real fast, I heard a voice say, 'Get up. I stood up and was grabbing my phone to throw in my purse and was like, "I guess, I'm going."

St Paul United Methodist in Abilene, Texas broadcasts live on Sunday morning, drawing 8-10,000 viewers each week.

(The Rev. Felicia Hopkins on with girl on broadcast) "Do you want to be baptized?' Girl: "Yes, ma'am."

The Rev. Felicia Hopkins remembers that day.

The Rev. Felicia Hopkins, St. Paul United Methodist Church: "Had two people already, adults, lined up to be baptized and something said to me, 'Felicia, Announce on live TV that you have baptism.' And I said, 'Okay. If you are out there anywhere and you can get here, the water is warm. We would love to be a part of your baptism."

(Hopkins baptizing girl on broadcast): "In Jesus name. Amen."

The Rev. Felicia Hopkins: "We baptized the two members we had and then the service was pretty much over. The ushers opened the door and it was like light just came in, and in the middle of that there was a woman who came."

Elizabeth Page: "I came up the aisle and she kinda bent over, the way she does and was watchin' me."

The Rev. Felicia Hopkins: "She had her flip flops, she was holding her towel. She said, 'I heard you on the TV and I want to be baptized.' Not a person in the congregation moved. We began to sing again. Everybody sat down."

Elizabeth Page: "She tilted her head a little bit and I thought, 'Oh, she's gonna say, 'No.' I'm not a member here. And then she said, 'I just have to hug you.' There was just a big warmth going through me."

The Rev. Felicia Hopkins: "We brought her to the water and we baptized her and we just loved her. It was probably one of the most exciting moments in the life of this church."

Church members Susan and Pat Mouser say the whole congregation was moved.

Susan Mouser, St. Paul United Methodist Church: "It was not just the TV reception doing that. It was the Holy Spirit working through our congregation."

Elizabeth Page: "I felt so welcome. And everybody came up to greet me and showed me so much love that day. It answered a whole lot of prayers."

For more information, contact St. Paul United Methodist Church at 325-672-7814.

And learn more about baptism and the sacraments and rituals of The United Methodist Church. 

This story was produced by United Methodist Communications. Contact is Joe Iovino.

This video was first published on May 25, 2017.

United Methodist Communications is an agency of The United Methodist Church

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