Unlike most Mennonite churches, almost all baptisms for the past 40 years have been by immersion. Other than immersion we have used pouring as a form of baptism.
For a couple of years under Ed Bontreger’s pastorate the United Methodist Church of Morocco allowed us to use their baptistry and one year the neighbors down the road, Delos and Wilma Chupp, allowed us to use their pond.
One time under Philip Leichty’s pastorate for his first baptism service, the Church of God in Mt. Ayr, Indiana allowed our congregation to use their baptistry. That early spring morning they filled the baptistry with icy cold well water and left the building unheated until our group arrived in the afternoon. It was an experience Pastor Philip never forgot!
Other venues for baptisms during Philip Leichty’s pastorate included a campground pond near Roselawn, Indiana; Bruce and Kathy Rayburn’s swimming pool; a clean, unused horse tank donated for a one-time use by Smith’s True Value store; and a beach on Lake Banet owned by St. Joseph’s College.
As a congregation we’re learning it’s not the specific venue or mode of baptism that makes the experience meaningful to the baptism candidate. It’s the heart of the individual that makes that difference.