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Pair take to waves for sea baptisms

Julie Wilkinson is baptised by Rob Guinney, pastor of Emmanuel Church West, and church leader Dave Tudor.
Julie Wilkinson is baptised by Rob Guinney, pastor of Emmanuel Church West, and church leader Dave Tudor.

The waters of the Irish Sea off Fleetwood have played a role in many activities involving the town over the years.

But for two members of the town’s Emmanuel Church West, the sea played a very different part.

Chris Geddes (centre) is baptised by Rob Guinney (right) pastor of Emmanuel Church West, and church leader Terry Godfrey

Chris Geddes (centre) is baptised by Rob Guinney (right) pastor of Emmanuel Church West, and church leader Terry Godfrey

Julie Wilkinson and Chris Geddes both braved the waves to make a public declaration of their faith in baptism ceremonies with a difference.

And pastor Rob Guinney and church leaders Dave Tudor and Terry Godfrey took the plunge with them.

It all took place on Saturday, in the sea near the YMCA pool off The Esplanade.

Dave said: “It is a very different way of doing things.

“But for Julie and Chris, this was an outward demonstration of their inner faith, and something they were both keen to do.”

Pastor Rob Guinney said: “It is very different but is a wonderful way to declare your faith and it was a really special occasion.”

Julie, 46, who moved to Fleetwood from Oldham in 2007, joined Emmanuel Church around 18 months ago.

The mum-of-two, of Chatsworth Avenue, said: “The funny thing was, I was expecting the water to be cold, but it wasn’t.

“I didn’t feel nervous, I felt really calm and it just felt right.

“There were a quite a few people watching on the beach, including my partner, Mark Fisher.

“He is not a religious person but he said he felt really moved by the whole thing, it was an incredible experience.”

Fleetwood man Chris, 42, and Julie later went back to Rob’s home for a meal to celebrate their baptism.

Emmanuel Church West is a ‘branch’ of the Emmanuel churches in Fleetwood and is a church with a difference.

It was founded in the town in 2013 and meets at the Rossall Tavern pub.

Services are held on the first Sunday of each month at 10am to 11.30am and everyone is welcome.