Monday, August 27, 2007

We're A Long Way from the River Jordan. fire hose?

Accompanied by brass bands and thundering preachers, several hundred people squeezed onto a narrow street in Washington, D.C. yesterday to be baptized in the drenching shower of a fire hose.

The tradition of the baptism by fire hose started in the late 1920s at the United House of Prayer for All People, which is headquartered in DC.

"We used to use the Potomac River," said pastor Apostle H. Whitner, but the church's founder, Charles "Sweet Daddy" Grace, decided to use a fire hose instead, "because a baptism involves sprinkling."

Although many Christian denominations view baptism as a one-time ritual for entry into the faith, the House of Prayer permits multiple baptisms as a way for members to periodically wash away their sins and heal physical ailments. For many in the church, yesterday's baptism is an annual practice.

The full story of drenching in water and emotion is at the Washington Post.

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