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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

Bluff Springs baptistry enjoys a new lifecomment (0)

August 24, 2000

By Greg Heyman


A small, outdoor baptistry from the past that had been all but forgotten played a big role in Bluff Springs Baptist Church’s celebration of its 125th anniversary Aug. 6 in Ashford.
   
And now the baptistry may also become a part of the church’s future.
   
Pastor Barry Holcomb said Bluff Springs began using the outdoor baptistry in the early 1900s. Located about 100 yards across the road from the church, the baptistry is fed by a spring 10 yards from the baptistry pool. Water is fed in by a pipe that flows 10 gallons a minute.
   
But church members didn’t just see the baptistry when they observed homecoming — they saw its resurrection, with one youth and five children baptized there.
   
Holcomb described the baptistry’s rededication as a “rediscovery” of sorts. “We always knew it was there,” he said.
   
A newer facility that was built in 1957 boasted many modern conveniences, among them an indoor baptistry. As a result, the outdoor baptistry was soon left all but forgotten.
   
Beyond its church use, he said the baptistry was also used for recreation. “A lot of kids learned to swim in it,” said Holcomb, pointing out youth could do backstrokes while swimming in the small area.
   
After the 1950s, woods grew up around the baptistry. This past March, as the 125th anniversary approached, talk began of uncovering the baptistry.
   
“It was a huge task; it was completely overgrown,” said Holcomb.
   
To clear the area, Holcomb said church members worked dilegently several Saturdays, cutting through woods to make a path to the baptistry.
  
Now the baptistry is enjoying a new life, with Jamie Miller, 8, among the youth recently baptized there. Her great-grandmother, Mary Parmer, 83, was baptized in the pool and was there to see her great-granddaughter baptized.
   
“It’s been restored as close to an original state as we could get it,” Holcomb  said.
   
He said the church is considering placing benches near the baptistry so   members can enjoy using the spot for prayer and meditation.
   
“We hope to use it as an area where people can go and be encouraged,” the pastor said.
   
But while Bluff Springs has found a new use for the baptistry area, he said the church also anticipates using it again for its original purpose.  “We will use it again, I’m certain,” Holcomb said.

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