Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Baptism center opens in Jordan

Baptist leaders and other dignitaries -- including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair -- took part in a ceremony March 20 dedicating a new evangelical Christian baptism center at the Jordanian spot traditionally regarded as the site of Jesus' baptism.

The afternoon celebration at the Baptism Center at Bethany beyond Jordan included more than 120 baptisms by immersion in the Jordan River. They were conducted by pastors from the Jordan Baptist Convention.

Eron Henry, associate director of communications for the Baptist World Alliance, said in a travel blog it is the first time Baptists in Jordan have received such prominent coverage in Jordan's major media outlets.

One of several new churches being built along the Jordan River at about the location Christian pilgrims have long believed Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, the center is intended to cater to Christian traditions that practice believer's baptism by immersion.

BWA General Secretary Neville Callam, in the day's major address, called the center "a place where people from all parts of the world may assemble for a journey and an experience." He expressed hope that "the waters of the Jordan extinguish the crippling fires of hopelessness that burn in the hearts of those who have no knowledge of God."


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