By Jamie Santa Cruz–Parker, Colorado…Newday church, in Parker ,was thrilled last month to welcome ten new members into their church community. The new members, which included three husband-wife pairs, all joined the congregation by baptism on July 27.
Two of the new members–Jeneane Cochran (age 12) and her sister Eowyn (age 9)–were baptized during summer camp at Mill Springs Ranch. Both were baptized by their dad, Newday member Steve Cochran.
The other eight baptisms occurred on the same afternoon in Parker. Newday’s congregation has a tradition of gathering once each year on a Sabbath afternoon during the summer to celebrate baptisms at the country home of a Newday member family, and the baptisms take place in the home’s backyard swimming pool.
At the Parker baptismal celebration, the first two candidates to enter the water were Evan Barton (age 13) and his sister Talia (age 11), who attend Newday regularly with their parents. The two were baptized by their grandfather. Next came husband and wife Dave and Sandy Watson, both of whom were raised in Christian homes, but neither of whom had felt fully connected to God or to a church family in recent years. In their testimonies, Dave and Sandy described a turning point in the spring of 2019 when they signed up to go on a trip to Israel organized by Newday–a trip that turned out to reignite the couple’s faith.
The last two couples to be baptized stood shoulder to shoulder to share their testimonies as a group. The four had been on a spiritual journey together for over a year after participating in the same Starting Point small group at Newday. Lily McAllister, one of these final four to be baptized, shared an emotional testimony about the crisis that had first brought her and her husband Gordon to Newday early in 2018. A horrific motorcycle accident had left their 27-year-old son severely and permanently disabled–and the accident left Lily with intense questions about the character of God. “We kept coming [to Newday] because we needed healing and help from God and his people to confront and deal with our recent tragedy,” Lily told her church community before she and Gordon entered the water. In the Starting Point group, Lily and Gordon found support and healing they desperately needed. “Things started making sense to me,” Lily said. “I felt very, very safe sharing my thoughts, my frustrations, my questions with my group.”
Milvia Valladares, who was baptized at the end along with her husband Fergie Lee, said she’d accepted the invitation to join Starting Point only because she couldn’t think of an excuse not to, but then echoed Lily’s sentiments about how important the group had become in her spiritual journey. “I have met the most wonderful people of my life,” Milvia told the church. She ended her testimony with a prayer of gratitude: “Thank you for not giving up on this lost sheep.”
Jamie Santa Cruz; photos by Mickey Mallory