On Sunday I drove up to Debbie and Jim's as today was a special day for both of them at church but also for Debbie as she was getting baptized. I hadn't been too keen on attending this and had declined her invitation until the last minute as I'm not a fan of modern churches, or even going to church at all. I believe in God but wish to believe in my own way and not a way dictated to by others. Their church is called Common Ground and is held in a school in Leesburg and Debbie was getting baptized in a kids paddling pool. Hmmm. But I went because I knew it was important to her and also to support both of them in completing a 20 week bible course.
It was a very casual relaxed atmosphere but I have to admit I was cautious and steered clear of large groups in case I was swallowed up and brainwashed. But I let down my defenses once I'd spoken with a few of them and found them to be very friendly welcoming folks who had no intention of preaching to me.
The group started with songs, all contemporary, so I listened as the whole group sang along with the band. The guy in red is the pastor, Sal, with his wife, Jamie, in the striped jacket. James Thrash was also there. He's a regular attendee who used to play for the Redskins until July 2009.
The band played pretty well, I was impressed, but I did miss singing traditional hymns. There were also a couple of prayers but because the scene was so informal, I wasn't aware prayers were being said until they were nearly halfway through and then I'd have to suddenly bow my head. I wished we'd said the Lord's Prayer.
Luke and Max sat down near me and this is Aiden, a close friend of Luke's. I was trying to get shots of Luke but every time I pointed the camera Aiden would start grinning and posing. Bless him, he was so cute.
Then it was time for the D Group (Discipleship) graduates to stand up and explain why the course had been important to them and what they'd learned from it. Both Jim and Debbie did an awesome job without showing any nervousness. I was so proud of them!
Then it was time for the baptisms. I have to confess I was very relieved when I saw the pool because I was fully expecting something like this:
To my immense relief, the pool, although bright plastic, was not adorned with gaily colored plastic ducks or piggies as I was dreading, so I was actually able to take the ceremony quite seriously.
Luke and Max stood close by as Sal baptized their Mom. Apparently the water was nice and hot so I wouldn't have minded a dunk myself but it was not to be. We all applauded Debbie and gave her soggy hugs then helped to put the tables and chairs away before we left.
Aston & Peyton looking wonderful and happy.
Then we all went to Maggiano's in Tysons 2, a superb Italian restaurant, to celebrate.
The food was exceptional and there was plenty of it. Here's Joyce loading up her plate and Debbie looking dry again.
I did not eat all that chocolate cake, but it was such a huge portion that I had to have my photo taken with it, and then reluctantly shared it out. We had a fabulous meal which Sal blessed, and then afterwards he told to the group how proud he was of them.
We headed back to Jim and Debbie's for cups of tea but after a while I left to relax on the sofa and cuddle up with Kota. End of a busy but magnificent weekend.