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Pine Forge Baptism Grows From 4 to 47

By Edwyn Cain, Racheal Groce, Dierra Robin, and Vivianne Jones

Divine service at Allegheny East Conference’s Pine Forge (Pa.) church recently took an unusual turn. On that Sabbath, a baptism was scheduled for four young ladies from Pine Forge Academy: Racheal Groce, Brielyn Sampson, Natalie Freeman, and Janel Bacchas. As these baptisms were drawing to a close, Gary Banks, pastor of the church, turned to the congregation and asked if there was anyone who wanted to start their lives over in Christ.

That was when the Spirit moved and began to work on the hearts of those in the congregation. People started coming forward saying they wanted to be baptized or re-baptized right then! Pastor Banks announced, “The pool will be open until the benediction!”

With no care of what others thought, several people came forward determined that they would serve God. By the end of the service, 47 people were baptized! Of that number, 44 were academy students and three were members of the local community.

Needless to say, there was no formal sermon that day, just periods of silence, music, and the working of the Holy Spirit. Finally after 1 p.m., first elder Samuel Darby offered the benediction.

Those who were not baptized were also blessed by the events that Sabbath. “It was really beautiful to see students … surrendering to our Savior Jesus Christ,” said one Pine Forge teacher.

“I’ve never seen anything like this … this is what church is all about,” added a member who has attended the church for 40 years.