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Priest baptises grown-up sons by full immersion after they come to faith

20 October 2023

Tim Sumpter

A VICAR who chose not to have his sons baptised as infants has recently baptised them by full immersion as grown men, after they came to faith by their own paths.

Last month, the Vicar of All Saints’, Ockbrook, in Derby diocese, the Revd Timothy Sumpter, baptised two of his three sons — Luke (pictured left), who is 32, and Joel (pictured right), who is 26 — in a swimming pool near the church.

He told the Church Times: “It was a deeply moving and significant moment in my own journey of faith, and as the Vicar and their father, to baptise Luke and Joel, along with another young man named Isaac. I was assisted by two members of the church family, to ensure the candidates were fully submerged, but came up again!

“In the course of my ministry here, I have now baptised 28 new disciples by full immersion, those who had not been baptised as children, which seem to be increasing in our current cultural context.”

Mr Sumpter came to faith as a young soldier serving in the Army Air Corps, and was later baptised in the Baptist Church before experiencing what he describes as a “second conversion” to Anglicanism while studying for ordination at a Baptist college. He was ordained priest in the Church of England in 1996. He has been Vicar of All Saints’ for 22 years, and has been an army chaplain since 2009.

“My wife and I decided — unusually for a clergy family — not to have our children baptised, but allow them to decide that for themselves,” he said.

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